Despite the recent record-breaking warm spell, the skiing and snowboarding conditions at Marmot Basin remain TERRIFIC!
So far February 2016 has been an easy month for most Albertans. In Calgary and the rest of the southern Prairies, this February is shaping up to be one of only two snow-free Februarys since record keeping began in 1885. Farther north, Edmontonians are enjoying some of the warmest temperatures since 2001.
A big ridge in the jet-stream is the main player in this weather story, but bare highways and city streets also contribute to the recent record temperatures as they absorb the sun’s rays and amplify its warmth.
Weather can make or break a ski/snowboard season
Jasper has also been enjoying unseasonably balmy temperatures in the valley bottoms, but up here at Marmot Basin, it’s a different story. In fact, as March peaks around the corner we’re still enjoying great skiing and snowboarding on winter snow.
How’s this possible given most of central and southern Alberta is snow-free? Well, weather is an interesting animal. Fickle and unpredictable, certain types of weather are crucial for good skiing and snowboarding. The main requirement is, of course, snow, but a few other elements factor in as well, such as:
Temperature (both daytime and night-time)
Why do we have such good conditions?
Here at Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park, there are a few things that have gone our way in terms of conditions favorable to good skiing and snowboarding.
Cold nights. While it has been warm during the day, we’ve had some nice -10 oC or colder nights that have helped to preserve the snowpack.
Sun during the day, but never too hot. While the sun has definitely been out, we haven’t reached those above 0 oC temperatures that cause snow to melt or become slushy. As a result, we’ve got grippy winter snow that’s great for carving.
The highest base elevation in Canada. As a general rule, things get colder as you go up. At 1697 m (5570 ft) at the bottom and 2612 m (8570 ft) at the top, our elevation helps to keep us cool.
The snow just keeps falling. Small amounts do add up - you don’t have to look farther than your grocery bill to validate that fact! From January 7 to February 20, Marmot Basin has received 68 cm of new snow in 21 small dose dumps, each one building up that essential base.
Great grooming. We’re lucky to have a very experienced staff of groomers who know the mountain well and love what they do. Thanks to them, we’ve been able to take full advantage of every snowfall we’ve had recently - big or small.
Don’t give up on winter fun just yet
While it’s nice to enjoy spring-like weather this early in the season, it’s not too late to take advantage of one of the best parts of an Alberta winter - skiing or snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies. Here in Jasper, there’s still a lot of fun to be had at Marmot Basin.