Snowbird’s historic 2022-23 ski season is coming to an end this weekend.
Yesterday, the Utah ski resort announced that they’ll be reopening on June 17th, after a few weeks of a hiatus. Unfortunately, due to the diminishing snowpack, their last day will be Sunday, June 18th. They will be operating the Tram and Little Cloud Express, but the only terrain pod that will be open is Little Cloud, meaning that there is no top-to-bottom skiing. After being done for the day, skiers and riders will walk back up to the tram to go to the base area.
While this is disappointing news, it’s not particularly surprising. Snowbird hasn’t seen much measurable snowfall since April. In May, Salt Lake City broke an all-time temperature record over the 89 years that it’s been recorded. The average May temperature was 67.2 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 5.2 degrees higher than the May average. While there’s a stark temperature difference between Salt Lake City and Snowbird, this did set it up for many above-freezing days.
The dust from the Great Salt Lake is another factor. A University of Utah study that was published yesterday found that wind-blown dust from the struggling Great Salt Lake accelerated the Wasatch snowpacks’ melt by 17 days compared to if there was no dust. They found that the 21-22 season had the most dust deposition events and the highest snowpack dust concentrations since the U began recording it in 2009. While we don’t know the numbers from this season yet, it’s probable this dust issue played a part in the rapid snowmelt.
Ultimately, while this season was fantastic for Snowbird and other Utah ski resorts, the wind of change still played its part.
Image Credits: Snowbird Resort