I don’t know about you but I like looking at statistics. One of our regular trip reporters, Ray Perrott, is a collector of data and puts it in an easily readable form for us. I started skiing in 1997, and I don’t remember a winter with so many cold days, and this report from Ray proves it:
“From a skiing standpoint at least, this past winter was the coldest we’ve had in quite a number of years. There are many ways to judge how cold a winter was, often involving average temperatures. But I’ve looked at it from a skier’s standpoint. Any day where the temperature started out at -20C or colder, and never warmed up to warmer than -10C, I’ve deemed a “Very Cold Day”. Personally, I like skiing between -10C and -5C.
Based on this categorization, we had 31 very cold days this winter.
That’s the second most in the past 25 years (1995-1996 had 34 very cold days). By contrast, last winter had 3 such days.
The biggest chunk of this winter’s very cold days were a 12 day stretch from Dec. 6-17. Coupled with a warm, low-snow November, and the lowest December snowfall in the last 5 years, most of our favorite ski venues struggled to have enough snow until Christmas or later. I’ve included a chart that shows (for Banff) “Snow on the ground” for the month of December, for the past 5 years. The data comes from Environment Canada’s website, and I’ve smoothed the lines slightly.
The chinooks of Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 13-17 did quite a bit of damage (especially to WBC and around Banff), and the very warm conditions of the past two weeks have not helped. But most winters have these unwanted warm conditions – the price we pay for living in southern Alberta.”
I used a lot of toe-warmers this winter. I recall a trip report from Helen Read where the temperature at Pipestone was -31, and I’ll never forget the day I skied up to the Kananaskis Fire Lookout…
“After a few minutes of descent I had to stop and put toe warmers in my boots and get my mitts out. I was now wearing every piece of warm clothing I had.”