"What's the average number of skiing days, and how much snow is needed to count as a skiable day?".
It's like the proverbial piece of string. This is Year 12 of my records, but Peter Thorn's go back further. We each use our own criteria. It's difficult to record consistently from year to year, but (to be mercifully brief) my basic criterion is whether other people would enjoy the prevailing the snow conditions, i.e. would they find it worth the journey? On that basis my (very) subjective estimate of the average number of skiable days is 41, but beware annual variation from almost none to nearly 100. My numbers are almost certainly an underestimate, and other peoples' comments would be welcome. It has been reassuring to find that this average has been consistent despite possible climate change effects on lower altitude snow. Whether the reliability (i.e. the extent of annual variation) has deteriorated I can't say, although I have heard it said that the snow used to arrive and stay for a long time, whereas now it comes and goes, and one has to be ready to get out there and enjoy it at short notice. Having said that, we've now had two continuous weeks of adequate snow depth, albeit hard and icy recently and with some short bare stretches. (One hopes the weekend weather will soften the snow enough for comfort). There is no doubt that with intensive management, as per other countries, the number of skiable days could be greatly increased, and the demand is certainly there, but this would require a sea change in resourcing which is probably not justified unless we were to have a run of consistently good winters. Attached is a photo of the Timberline snowfield taken earlier this week.
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