Matt Zaffino's Outdoors

Recent posts
Find posts by keyword
Find posts by date


Random Thoughts On Winter

by Matt Zaffino

Bio | Email | Follow: @Zaffino

Posted on February 21, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:36 PM

Hey everybody, sorry for the long dry stretch between entries, but I'd been totally swamped with the big HD conversion at KGW. Had to put in a lot of extra hours, which really cut into my recreation time. I hate that. But, we all go through times like that, and when it ends, it makes me appreciate my recreational time even more. And I've been getting out a bit since. I've been alternating between skiing, running and golf. Gotta love the Northwest in late winter and spring! I won't offend you with pictures of my golf swing, but here's a couple mountain pics:

Xena catching a frisbee at Bennett Pass SnoPark on Mt Hood

Check out the massive amount of snow in the parking lot at Bennett Pass! Xena, in her eagerness to go ski-joring, bounded almost straight up the snowbank. I made a feeble effort to kick steps in and climb up, before giving up and going around to a low spot farther down the parking lot. I made this picture on February 13. Clearly there's a ton of snow on Mt Hood, but already the snowpack is shrinking. And that's probably a good thing.

On February 8th, there was a massive 140" of snow at Government Camp. I can't recall ever seeing more there. But as of today, February 21, the snowpack is down to 91". That four feet of snow loss is due to settling, melting and sublimation (evaporation of snow). The reason I say the snow loss is a good thing is because the risk of widespread flooding is diminishing. The low elevation snowpack has been huge this winter. Our recent weather pattern has been perfect for a gradual reduction of all that water stored up in the snow.

Xena inspects a clear-cut off Bennett Pass

And there's still plenty of snow at higher elevations for great skiing well into spring. In fact I can hardly wait for the longer days of spring and some great corn snow.

Impressive Cap Cloud on Mt Hood

I made this picture the day before the ski-trip pictured above. The lenticular cloud on top of Mt Hood goes by the casual name of a Cap Cloud, since it looks like a cap on the mountain. These clouds are good indications of strong winds aloft, which can be an indication of an incoming storm. In this case, the storm dropped about 4 inches of snow on Mt Hood for my and Xena's skiing pleasure.

So what's up with the rest of winter? Are we done with stormy weather? Not likely. But it looks like more good opportunities in the next couple weeks to continue my cross-training regime of skiing, running and golf.

What about you? How do you take advantage of our less-stormy weather this time of year? Drop a comment on the blog here and I'll post some of the good ones. That way we can share ideas and maybe come up with more great ways to get out there and have fun!

Happy Trails,
Matt Zaffino
KGW Chief Meteorologist