If this winter has been anything, that is consistently extreme. Just as early February was the 30 year STORM-A-GEDDON, mid March has been a record 30 year MELT-A-GEDDON. On Monday 3/13 there was an average snow depth on the golf course of 18″. By Monday 3/20, mostly grass and the nordic track was done. Our final grooming was on 3/17 and we started plowing cart paths on 3/22. Anecdotally, the Snake River Canyon is running 8,000 cfs and people are surfing Lunch Counter! Definitely a first in March!
No greens were blown off. The black sand that was spread on 2/8 remained persistent. All the greens melted naturally by 3/15.
No dead bent grass. Acceptable levels of vole damage. Very minor snow mold. I was preparing for the worst spring ever and it feels like we cheated a little because the golf course is emerging about as well as it can.
These pictures say it all…(note how the black sand re-emerges on the 13th)
We are still a month away from needing to get the snow off the greens, but after the rain stopped and the temperature dropped we were left with an untouchable ice layer on top of the snow pack that would have made for very difficult mechanized removal. There is some good news though when you have a bullet proof snow surface and high pressure and sunshine for a few days.
We took advantage of the break in storms to spread black sand on the greens. In about 4 hours we were able to spread two tons of sand on all 20 greens with the hope that we could melt through the 4″ think rain layer before the next series of storms. Now three days later, we’re pretty close but not quite there, though I think it will help a ton when it comes time to blow off greens.
Another unprecedented storm event that many are calling the 30 year storm. This is one that won’t be forgotten and the old timers 50 years from now will say, “Remember that storm in 2017…”
Clouds rolled on on Jan. 30th with forecasters calling for a 14 day storm. Snow removal crews were braced for some long days and roof shoveling crews were frantic to get roofs cleaned off. Brad hired a contract crew to shovel the clubhouse and employee housing for the 2nd time and half way through he got caught in the middle of what was to become an epic weather event.
Consistent snowfall from 1/30 – 2/7 stacked up close to 2′ of fresh wet and heavy snow around the valley. Plow crews, us included did our best to clear it over the already high snow banks, then on 2/8 the wind started blowing, the temperature climbed and snow turned to rain…hard rain. It rained hard for three days before the storm finally broke on 2/10. The result was catastrophic. 17 power poles on the Village road left all of Teton Village, Moose and the airport without power for 5 days before crews could re-install new powers and get the power on again. The roof over Sears/Axis Gymnastics/Hole Bowl collapsed and all three businesses were closed. VonGonatard’s horse arena in bondurant collapsed. Seherrtoss’s shop on S. Park Loop road collapsed. 20+ large avalanches in Hoback Canyon closed the highway and took out power poles cutting power to Bondurant for over 24 hours. Avalanches in Snake River Canyon closed the highway for 2 days. Avalanches on Teton Pass closed the pass for 4 days. Residents in the valley were trapped with no way out of the valley. Commuters were stuck at home and couldn’t come to work. Lower Valley repair crews couldn’t get parts into the valley to repair the power lines. The wind howled and the rain drove hard and the 42″ deep snowpack on the golf course was reduced to 27″.
This is an interesting article from Jim Woodmencey’s blog, and was posted the day before the big storm arrived.
An excerpt I find interesting, and I agree that this is a snowpack that will take a long time to melt this spring…
“Temperatures have been colder than normal these past few months, during almost break we had between snowstorms the last two months, it got down below zero. Colder temperatures keep the snow from settling as much, and every subsequent storm just piles it up deeper.
For valley dwellers, that means snow banks are really high. For skiers, borders and ‘bilers, that means deep coverage up high, with very few rocks showing anymore. This is a snowpack that will likely take a long time to completely melt away this spring.”
Here’s a short video showing some of the carnage and repairs required for the 17 downed power poles.
This has truly been a unique winter with lots of extreme weather and not much comfortable middle ground weather. The community has come together and even though many big events were cancelled (cutter races, ski joring, powder 8’s), there is a palpable sense of pride around town that if we can live through this, we can do anything.
We are off to quite a start this winter with the big Christmas storm followed by another mega storm that lasted 4 days. January 6th and 7th had lows at -30 degrees and suddenly on 1/9 a storm came in as rain that turned back to snow and created a dangerous ice layer on all walk ways and roads. By 1/12 there was 24″ plus of new snow. We rented the only loader left in the valley from Troy’s diesel and moved piles out of the clubhouse onto Cygnet Lane (for the second time, we already hired Westwood Curtis to move piles on 12/29). I can no longer see out my north office window the snow is piled so high and this is by far the most snow I’ve seen before mid January.
Stormageddon was followed by another full week of -15 degree lows and then another three day storm that dropped another foot of cold smoke snow 1/24-1/27. The theme this winter seems to be either extremely cold temps or nuking snow. No middle ground, just extremes.
Writing this in mid-February it seems as if Christmas was a decade ago, but looking back at some pictures thought it would be worth re-capping.
The Pisten Bully was broke down for three weeks before Christmas. It took Richard a long time to figure out that the alternator was bad but he finally got it working again on Christmas Eve just in time for the big Christmas storm. It snowed almost two feet from 12/24-12/27 and set us up perfectly for a Christmas winter wonderland.
Wayne, Outlaw Carriage Company, did a great job again this year with sleigh rides out on the course. He started the weekend before Christmas and ran rides during both Santa Brunches and the gingerbread house brunch. Then after Christmas he ran every day until 12/30. We decided not to run any more rides after dark next year and to move all the rides up into the day time because it conflicts too much with the dinner crowd and not many people opted for after dark rides.
The pond was a hit again this year and weather mostly cooperated. It stayed open from 12/15 – 1/10. The big storm of Jan. 6-9 with rain and warm temps shut us down. During sub 0 temperatures cracks formed that we welded, and for the second consecutive year a big crack formed on the west side of the pond and water came through until it found it’s level. Not a huge deal since we shifted the whole thing east a little. Next year we plan to bury sleeves in the ground that will hold a pole 10′ in the air with a motion activated LED flood light on all four corners so night skating will be safer. During a private party lots of skaters were on the ice and it was hard to see. Two hockey clinics, taught by a veteran Moose player, were well attended.