Steamboat Resort records 400-plus inches in snowiest season in a decade

A skier carves through the snow at Steamboat Resort on Saturday, March 11, 2023. With snowfall recorded on Thursday, March 23, the resort surpassed 400 inches.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect the most recent snowiest year at Steamboat Resort.

With more than 18 inches in the last three days, snowfall at Steamboat Resort surpassed 400 inches on Thursday, March 23. That’s over 33 feet of snow this year.

With the fluffy stuff still falling, the season snow total sat at 401.5 inches Thursday morning. However, another number on the resort’s snowfall chart reads 412 inches. Either way, the 2022-23 winter is the snowiest since 2010-11 when 433 inches of snow graced the slopes.

The resort has data on mid-mountain snowfall dating back to 1980-81. Of those 42 seasons, only eight have seen 400 inches or more, meaning this is just the ninth 400-inch season in recorded history.

This winter has felt historic with non-stop snow, but Steamboat is still about 7 feet or 80-plus inches away from matching the 489 inches that fell in 2007-08.

At the summit, more than 30 inches of snow has fallen over the last few days, bringing the season total to 507 inches at the top of Storm Peak, according to the resort.

March typically accounts for about 15% of yearly snowfall. So far, 53 inches have fallen in March, which is a little over 13% of this year’s snow total. With a week left in the month, March could end up bringing above average precipitation.

The nearly historic season has prompted Steamboat Resort to extend its season for the first time in 30 years to April 16.

With an extended season comes more days to count snowfall, increasing the odds of 2022-23 being a record year. While Steamboat might not hit a record snow total, the snow-water equivalent in the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin, or the amount of water in the snowpack, is on the same trajectory as it was for three record winters in 1986, 1997 and 2011. 

As of Thursday, there are 27 inches of snow-water equivalent in the basin, six inches more than the median peak of 21 inches. The moisture is 147% of the median for the area.

The snow water equivalent in the 2022-23 season, shown in black, is on a similar track as three previously record-breaking seasons, 1986, marked in purple, 1997 marked in red and 2011 marked in blue. The green represents the median and the x represents median peak.
Natural Resource Conservation Service/Screenshot

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