Historic and Projected Snow Depths for Western US Ski Areas
Search for ski areas by name, state, or both. Click on marker for snow depths.


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About the data

Ski area locations were obtained from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center website. I include their disclaimer here: "The identification of ski locations are purely intended as informational with no implied endorsement. For further information on these ski areas, you will need to contact them directly. The locations shown are those we are aware of at the present time." I added a few ski areas in Washington state that were missing from the NOAA data.

The data on historic and projected snow depth were developed by the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington for a project funded by USFS Regions 1 (Northern) and 6 (Pacific Northwest), along with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station Boise Aquatic Sciences Lab. A brief overview of this project can be found on the Cascade GIS website, along with slideshows of some of the other climate and hydrological variables from the project. GIS data and maps from the project, including the snow depth data used in this application, may be found on the Ecoshare website. For a full description of the project, including infomation on the global climate models (GCMs) used to produce the snow depth projections, you may download the full project report, entitled " Regional Climate and Hydrologic Change in the Northern US Rockies and Pacific Northwest: Internally Consistent Projections of Future Climate for Resource Management", available here.

Disclaimers: This application was written as the final project for a JavaScript/Ajax certificate series I took with the O'Reilly School of Technology, and is for illustrative purposes only. As such, it is in no way intended to be a work of science. Although the snow depth projections used herein were obtained from a reliable scientific source, point sampling the broad-scale output of these down-scaled global climate models (having a spatial resolution of roughly 5km x 7km) is most certainly a questionable use of the data. In particular, consider how much elevation (and therefore snowfall) may vary in a mountainous area over an area 5km by 7km in size. Quoting Jeremy Littell of CIG, the author of the project report, "The historical data and projected future climate information in the databases associated with this project are intended to assist in the development of climate impacts studies, integrated impacts assessments, vulnerability assessments, and planning for climatic change in the regions and subregions defined in the Littell et al. (2011) report. Gridded datasets bring with them the capability to apply climate information from a single pixel or collection of pixels to a problem. While this is possible to do, the inferences associated with doing so increasingly bring local uncertainties (such as topography, vegetation, land use, or other local contingencies) into the analysis, and the use of these data and projections at scales finer than the basin and sub-regional summaries presented brings with it other assumptions than those described in the white paper. It is the responsibility of end users to exercise caution and make explicit these assumptions in their descriptions of the uncertainty associated with the projections at these finer scales."