Following a sunny couple weeks in January, Old Man Winter came back with the kind of vim and vigor we haven’t seen in years. In the last two weeks, nearly 5 feet of snow have graced our local slopes, much to the delight of powderhounds — and the chagrin of shovelers.
It all started with a storm at the very end of January that dumped a record-setting 24 inches in 24 hours on the local ski mountains. Meanwhile, Aspen and Snowmass residents will swear they woke up on Friday, January 31, to 3 feet of new snow on their decks and driveways (it was pretty obvious as the prior dry spell melted nearly everything away prior to that).
What followed was unprecedented. Nine additional inches (officially) fell by Saturday morning, followed by a brief window of bluebird skies and sunshine to take in the magical white-covered landscape. Then more snow came, and more, and more — 2 to 9 inches every day but one since February 4. We’ve gotten almost 2 feet in the last week alone.
The historic conditions beg for documentation for posterity’s sake — it’s been a while since we’ve seen snow piles so high, cars buried so completely, and efforts to move around in the stuff so comical for man and his best friend. So here’s a little photo album and some stats we put together to remember the Big Storm of 2014, from the BJ Adams and Company family.
More than 15 feet of snow have fallen on Aspen/Snowmass ski areas since the beginning of the season, making for one of the best seasons on record in years. What’s more, temperatures have stayed mostly low and wind effect has been minimal, delivering the perfect “storm” of conditions for skiers and riders.
Too deep for the dogs? Above, from left: “Really, Mom?!” says Olive, as BJ takes her on a “walk” on the Owl Creek Trail after 3 feet of snow has fallen in two days. Sister, Leah’s dog, and Birdy, Jennifer Swanson’s dog, attempt to chase each other in the snow. Birdy buried.
January snowfall was 125 percent of average, thanks mostly to the copious snowfall on the last two days of the month.
Wednesday, February 5 was “hump day,” the halfway point in the season with 72 days down and 72 to go. As of this writing, there’s more snow coming, with one forecaster noting that the storms are lined up from here to Japan.
Lots of powder means lots of people skiing. As of the midpoint of the season, nearly 500 people had skied or snowboarded 50 days or more, and are well on their way to earning their 100-day pins.
The snow came down so fast and furious that a lot of vehicles were buried overnight. At left, Bethany’s car starting to be dug out the night of January 31. Right: Which one’s my car?
Visitors are taking advantage of the epic conditions as well. Destination business is up so far this season compared to last, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.
The structural design for roof snow load in Aspen is 75 pounds per square foot (less for flat roofs), a criteria that was established after a hardware store roof collapsed in 1965. Officials estimate that the mass of the recent accumulation of snow is 62 pounds per square foot. Add 5.2 pounds for every inch of ice thickness.
Enjoy the snow!