It's been a Wyoming winter – and then some.
Across the state, everyone’s talking about how much snow they’ve plowed, blowed and shoveled from one place to another.
On the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, more than 500 inches have fallen so far this winter.
Folks in Riverton and Lander are experiencing the snowiest winter since recordkeeping began in 1907. Casper, Evanston and other places all over the Cowboy State say the same. People around Wyoming have the same thing to say about the 2022-23 season: “We’re having an old-fashioned winter.”
Jackson Hole is where winter goes to level up. Never mind this inches stuff, snow here is measured in feet. And this year, it’s never measured higher.
Local meteorologist Jim Woodmencey told Cowboy State Daily that snow depths on the valley floor and in town are the deepest they’ve been in mid-March since records have been kept.
“It’s been the rub all winter, really, the fact that we started in early November with snowfall and it never left. Some years it comes and it goes. But November, December, January and February — all those months were colder than normal,” Woodmencey said. “We were above normal all season, but had no record-breaking snowfall events.
“It is just the cumulative effect of piling up snow and not melting hardly any of it.”
As measured at the town’s climate station near the Visitor Center, Jackson has 34.5 inches of settled snow on the ground. That’s the most piled up in the middle of March since 1993, when the previous record was 28 inches.
It’s the same all over the valley floor. Moose, Moran —typically more snowy than downtown Jackson — are both showing 3 feet of snow on the ground in no hurry to melt out.
At elevation, area resorts are also being pounded.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort just joined the 500 Club, again. The resort now boasts a whopping 511 inches for the season. The record is 593 set in 2016-17. The average at JHMR is about 458 inches.
A total of 431 inches of snow has fallen at Grand Targhee in Alta, and Snow King in downtown Jackson is reporting 211 inches for the season.
And it keeps coming.
As of Monday, Jackson measured just over 15.7 inches of snowfall for the month. The average for March is about 11 inches, so that mark has already been surpassed. The all-time record for March snowfall in Jackson is 26.5 inches, set in 1985.
While snow in Jackson has never been consistently deeper in mid-March, it has been deeper, historically, overall.
In 1985, a late-season storm helped briefly push standing snow totals to the 36-inch mark. And the most snow Jackson ever had on the ground was on March 15, 1906, when 40 inches of settled snow was recorded.
One thing about winter weather — people always seem to recall days of yore when it was much, much, wintrier.
“I remember the winter of ’49. Snowed the entire month of January. Drifted up as high as the telephone poles,” recalled one old-timer, Delvin Scott. “And cold? Never got above 20 below for three weeks.”
But were winters really harsher in the old days?
“Not really,” Woodmencey said.
Woodmencey has lived and worked in Jackson Hole since 1982. He has forecasted, studied and written about Jackson Hole’s weather for more than 30 years. The meteorologist says weather is a law of averages.
“Let’s just say, people’s memory of weather is not as accurate as the story the numbers tell,” he said.