SNOTEL and other Snow Informations Resources

by Bob Young


Many of you may have been using, as I have, the snotel website for accurate information on current snow depths as you plan a tour. A month or so ago my link went to a page that just said the information had been archived and I was unsuccessful reestablishing that resource. Thanks to Frank Hoffman we now have an address to the revised site.

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/or/snow/?cid=nrcseprd1725421 pasted into your browser address bar should take you to the interactive map with all of the Oregon snotel sites marked. Once here you can bookmark the site for a shortcut or you can go further into the site and specific information you want, like Hogg Pass and 7 day hourly table, and then bookmark that. The interactive map page though gives you lots of options for locations and type of information you might want.

That last reference is what I use to see what new snow really fell yesterday at Santiam Pass and how much consolidated or blew away overnight. I still also look at the Santiam Ski Patrol weather page http://www.santiampassskipatrol.org/wx/weather.htm which tells what the wind and temperatures have done at Hoodoo over the previous 48 hours and then look at Tripcheck https://tripcheck.com/ for road conditions. Tripcheck’s snow depth information is highly unreliable as it is only a report of what a plow driver observed, like “no new snow” but is that since the last time he drove it, ignoring the 6″ that fell last night . . . . Well, that’s my take anyway. Also be sure to check NOAA https://www.weather.gov/ (hint: enter “Santiam Pass, OR” in the location box) or Mountain-Forecast https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Hoodoo-Butte/forecasts/1738 to see what the rest of your day may be like. So no excuses now. Know before you go and get out there to enjoy the snow.

Trip Report

Sunday, March 20. Spring is here? The snows continue to come down and provide us with good skiing. Crowds at the Santiam Snopark appear to be diminishing as we found few cars when we arrived at 9:00. It was lightly snowing and a stiff breeze was putting the wind chill somewhere in the low 20’s or below so 5 of us bundled up and headed towards the PCT highpoint above Booth Lake. As we got to higher elevations we were finding wind exposed surfaces a bit crusty and icy and changed my plan to ski the ridge line down toward Square Lake and instead made our way into the crater below the PCT. Bianca, Dayna, Fiona, and I had fun runs and good workout climbs as we did multiple trips to the bottom. The bottom of the crater provided a nice protection from the persistent stiff breeze where we had a fairly leisurely lunch before the final climb out and fun ski back down to the Skyline trial. The snow was not as fluffy as it could be but was still soft enough for nice turns as we sought out the most fun route. Just another of those great ski days with the best of company.

By Bob Young