Mountain Blog

A Prolific Powder Year

Nancy Story - Wednesday, January 29, 2014


 It’s definitely a prolific powder year.

According to our daily snow reports, about 58 inches have fallen on the slopes this January alone. In December, we recorded 78 inches at the mountain.   We don’t keep slope-specific snowfall stats other than our daily snow report, but the Benzie County Road Commission keeps official tabs on the flake depths.  Their records reveal that as of Jan. 28, approximately 156.25 inches have fallen in Benzie County.  Neighboring Manistee County has shared in the windfall of snowfall, tallying up 163” so far this season.

Since the road commission’s official snowfall depth recordkeeping began in 1966/67, the most snowfall recorded in Benzie County piled up in the winter of 1996-97. That’s when 231 inches blanketed Benzie. During the winter of 2008/09, total snowfall hovered just below 200 inches. That same year (2008/09) marked Manistee County’s biggest snowfall ever, with 191 inches.

With all this fluff, eager skiers are always seeking out a fresh powder stash worth a few turns in untracked snow - not just deep enough, but steep enough to create a white wake off the ski tails while flying down the fall line.  Naturally, the glades are filled with possibilities after every snowfall – and what a perfect year to have opened up two new glade areas off Gorge and Buck!  We even have tree wells forming in those woods, which is usually a winter hazard of the mountains, not the Midwest.  Some of the deepest steeps can be found underneath the power line off of Thor, on the bottom stretches of Nose Dive and Cut Off. On the North Face, the far edge of By George often serves as a snowy sanctuary.   Sure, there are other places - but I’m not going to tell you.  Come out and find them for yourself.

Scientists tell us that one septillion snow crystals drop down from the skies during an average winter.  No telling if we’ve hurdled that septillion mark already in this above- average epic season.  Embrace it and ski it!

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