On the hill: Was March snowier or memory duller?
ASPEN – There is a tendency to think the good ol’ days were better, and that phenomena might be magnified in Aspen.
While stretching in a midvalley gym with two people who arrived in the valley about the same time I did 25 years ago, we started pondering what happened to March weather. We all agreed that it seemed much more snowy, once upon a time. The month in recent years seems to be getting awfully mild.
So is March really getting drier and warmer, or did we fall victim to selective memory? I collected some statistics from the Aspen Skiing Co. to investigate.
The average snowfall for March, as measured at the top of Snowmass since 1980, is 61.43 inches through over the last 30 seasons.
In the 1980s, there were six winters with March snowfall above the 29-year average and four below.
In the 1990s, there were only three Marches with above average snowfall and seven below.
In the aughts, there have been four above and five below. This winter, we’re sitting at 39 inches through Wednesday, with one week to go in the month. (Snow is forecast Friday into Saturday.)
For a running total, the snowfall has exceeded the average in 13 of the last 29 Marches.
The 29-year stretch started with a bang. Snowfall far exceeded the average from 1980-01 through 1984-85. The winter of 1983-84 really was the good ol’ days with 101.25 inches of snow in March alone. That’s a record for the 29 years that stats were available from the Skico.
The longest dry spell was from 1995-96 through 2004-05, when snowfall was above average in only two of 10 winters for March.
So what’s it all mean in the big picture? Hell if I know. March is supposed to be one of our snowiest months – except when it isn’t.
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