Item: Orographic Effects of Wind at Stevens Pass Ski Area
Title: Orographic Effects of Wind at Stevens Pass Ski Area
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2004 International Snow Science Workshop, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- P. Morrison [ Stevens Pass Ski Area ]
Abstract: It all starts with a forecast, but what does free winds at 1,524 meters (5,000 feet) mean to our area on the ground? For the last four winters, (01’-04’), observations have been made of the orographic effects of wind at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. This was accomplished by correlating data from the three ski area telemetry sites, the NW Avalanche Center forecasts, simultaneous compass readings from various locations, and visual observations of wind and its effects. Looking for consistency as well as anomaly between the various observations and data, this data was plotted on maps of Stevens Pass Ski area to get an overall picture of what does a free wind at 1,524 meters (5,000 feet) forecast really mean to our local area. Crown depths from short records were looked at to confirm suspected loading. When shot records were not available, “ski-pole” measurements were taken. The findings have shown that not only large terrain features such as major mountain passes and ridges can effect wind direction, but also rows of trees and more subtle features such as gullies, small rises and depressions. Wind takes the path of least resistance. In other words, a west wind just might load a west slope. The knowledge gained has helped make operation decisions concerning which areas should be of priority focus when doing mid-day ski cutting or doing control work with a limited number of patrollers.
Language of Article: English
Keywords: wind, forecasts, avalanche control
Digital Abstract Not Available