What’s been a fabulous winter season for the Mt. Baker Ski Area got even better as more than 100 inches of snow fell this week.
“Holy cow! Yes, it’s been crazy,” said Amy Trowbridge, ski area marketing manager.
“That is a lot of snow. We get snow like that every once in a while, but it’s pretty rare,” Trowbridge said.
Even so, Mt. Baker Ski Area holds the world record for most snowfall in a season, with an almost unimaginable 1,140 inches during the winter of 1998-1999.
That’s 95 feet of snow – nearly as tall as the Herald Building (101 feet) or the Mount Baker Theatre (100 feet), according to Emporis.com, which archives building information.
Current average snowfall at the ski area is 663 inches, based on a 15-year cycle, Trowbridge said.
Some 421 inches of snow has fallen so far this season, she said.
Trowbridge said daily readings are taken at the 4,300-foot level near the Pro Patrol cabin around Heather Meadows. Observations made by Sno-Cat drivers make sure the readings are 95 percent accurate.
The ski area’s measuring station is linked by telemetry to the Northwest Avalanche Center, which provides forecasts and warnings about snow conditions.
By contrast, Stevens Pass has 229 inches of snow this season, and only 37 inches in the past week.
Trowbridge said skiers and snowboarders have been flocking to Mt. Baker Ski Area this winter because traditional winter recreation destinations such as Colorado, Utah and California are lacking in the fresh powder.
“We’re in an absolutely very lucky sweet spot,” Trowbridge said. “We’re one of the few places in North America that has good snow.”
Long range forecasts from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration indicate that snow is likely to keep falling. Climate models through April show a La Niña pattern holding, with a greater chance of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation for the Pacific Northwest.