It seems people either love it or hate it. Winter isn’t for everyone and I’ll admit there is a limit I can take myself. But I live where there are four very distinct seasons and winter is no exception. This winter in Utah has been one for the books.
It Started Off Mild and Dry
It was a rather slow start this year as far as snow goes. November was relatively mild. I didn’t complain as it left several opportunities for hiking in short sleeves. Antelope Island routinely delivers good sunsets so I gladly took advantage of the warmer weather to spend an afternoon there.
The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere. But it is shrinking. Because of water diversion and increased evaporation, the lake is smaller than it has been in over fifty years. Consequently, it will require several years of above average precipitation the region and better methods of managing water for it to fill up again.
The lake is also crucial in triggering the “lake effect” which in turn delivers more snow. However, with less water in the lake to give storms that boost of energy, you can see how this could spell big problems in the future. It is more and more evident how much we depend on winter storms to supply us with the water we need to live and to keep our lakes and reservoirs full.
Let It Snow
After receiving little in the way of snowfall in December it left me worried the season would be a dud. We needed a robust winter to make up for previous lackluster ones. But around Christmas things took a turn. A series of storms over the holidays brought lots of snow and all the fun and headaches that go with it. The totals were even record-breaking in some areas. And with that, 2017 was off to a good start.
As January and February came, so did more snow. Lots of it. By March some of the ski resorts in the Wasatch had already received 500″, something only a few areas are capable of and usually at the end of the season which lasts well into April or May in the highest elevations. Because of the amount of snow we’ve received, the snow pack is running at 140-180% of normal.
This year’s ski season is sure to set records for number of visitors flocking to the slopes. And I can attest that Utah’s powder is pretty awesome.
If you prefer to play away from the crowds there are trails all over the Wasatch which offer excellent opportunities for back-country and cross-country skiing. Snow shoeing has also become a fun activity of mine as it allows me to hike all year long. Being able to see my favorite landscapes in all four seasons is why I love to live here.
The winter season away from the Wasatch can be rewarding as well. Utah’s National Parks are open year-round and visiting in the winter is great because it is less crowded and allows you to see these places in ways most people don’t get to, like covered in snow. I almost think Bryce Canyon is more stunning with the snow.