Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions

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Weekly updates about winter conditions in the greater Tuolumne Meadows area.

Update for April 15, 2015

April 17, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

This is our final post of the season. The snow from last week is mostly melted out around Tuolumne Meadows and there is essentially no skiing below 9500 feet. Above 9500 feet on north aspects, there are still skiing opportunities, but these are very limited. The best ski opportunities exist north of Tioga Pass around Bennettville and Saddlebag Lake, though travelers should anticipate having to carry skis for stretches in these places as well. The east side of Tioga Pass (Highway 120 from US 395 to Tioga Pass) is open. In Yosemite National Park, the Tioga Road is closed between Tioga Pass and Crane Flat.

 

Update for April 8, 2015

April 09, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Just when we were all getting excited about summer sports, Mother Nature throws us a curve ball and blankets the high mountains with some much-needed snow. It is a beautiful scene to behold. One we’ve been waiting for all season here in Tuolumne Meadows. Of course, most of this snow fell on bare ground, so our travel summary remains relatively the same: snowshoes are the equipment of choice to access the trails around Tuolumne Meadows. Ice axes and crampons are advised for high mountain travel. Especially with this new snow, trails are not obvious in places and navigational skills are a must. Come prepared for any type of weather.

 

Update for April 1, 2015

April 02, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Recreation conditions have not changed much since last week's post. There is still too much snow above 9,000 feet to simply hike. Snowshoes are the equipment of choice to access the trails around Tuolumne Meadows. Ice axes and crampons are advised for high mountain travel.

 

Update for March 25, 2015

March 24, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

If you are willing to strap your skis on your back, you can find skiable snow above 9500 feet. But, it is by no means hiking season yet unless you want to post-hole in 1 ½ feet of snow on north-facing slopes above 9,000 feet. Snowshoes are still a necessity in most places above this elevation. Come prepared for any type of weather. We did get three inches of new snow this week. Every flake helps!

 

Update for March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

At 8,600 feet around Tuolumne Meadows, there is a patchwork of bare ground and snow patches of varying depths. Rivers are running and the meadows are starting to green up for spring. The continued drought (year four) and well-above-normal temperatures this winter is unprecedented since weather records have been kept here and elsewhere in California.

 

Update for March 12, 2015

March 13, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

We spent the past week on patrol in the northern reaches of Yosemite for the Sierra Nevada red fox project. The snowpack is significantly deeper there, with an average of three feet of snow on the ground. Unfortunately, it is so dry below 8,600 feet that we had to carry our skis for ten miles before hitting “ski line.” Some would consider this excessive, but for us it was well worth the effort. The skiing and weather were perfect for spring skiing and camping.

 

Update for March 4, 2015

March 05, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Though not the big Sierra dump that is sorely needed, the 12 inches of snow that fell this past weekend was a sight for sore eyes! The ski conditions are vastly improved from last week. Visitors can expect the Tioga Road to be mostly snow covered from Ellery Lake to Tuolumne Meadows.

 

Update for February 25, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

One can manage a few turns up high in between the rocks, and the road and meadows are still mostly snow covered, allowing for fast travel. Temperatures are forecast to be more “seasonal” this week (low 40s instead of this season’s norm of mid 50s), so not much should change in regards to the ski conditions.

 

Update for February 18, 2015

February 18, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The ski conditions and weather were quite good this week. That is, if you prefer warm, sunny, calm days and you are fortunate enough to be skiing above 9,500 feet.

 

Update for February 11, 2015

February 12, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

We got the precipitation we had been waiting for this week; unfortunately it mostly fell as the liquid kind. The atmospheric river event was a warm one even for the high country. One has to go above 9,500 feet to get above the rain line. Above 9,500 feet, the new snow amounts are more like 16+ inches, and the settled snow depth is 41 inches, on average. Coverage improved dramatically with the wet snow that fell and with settlement will provide for fine cross-country skiing in the flats and gentler terrain.

 

Update for February 4, 2015

February 05, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The weather this week was characterized by warm and dry conditions. January 2015 was the warmest and driest January on record for our weather station here in Tuolumne Meadows. One can easily deduce what the ski conditions are like in the area after such a weather synopsis. Remarkably, the skiing on the road and meadows is still good.

 

Update for January 28, 2015

January 29, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

This week saw a significant warm spell, a wind event, and, finally, a dusting of new snow. Hence, the snow conditions are what we like to call “variable.” The best skiing is still on the road, in drainages, and meadows. There are not many turns to be had in the alpine zone, so touring is the best bet until (if) we get some more snow.

 

Update for January 21, 2015

January 21, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Despite the never-ending dry spell, visitors are taking advantage of winter in Tuolumne Meadows. People are snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, biking (east of the park boundary) and even rock climbing! Ski conditions are ever changing. The road corridor is the most user friendly place for skiing.

 

Update for January 14, 2015

January 14, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The snow surface has gone through some melt - freeze cycles this week which has improved the ski conditions. The snow is still pretty shallow, with the deeper snow on the north aspects. The Tioga Road is mostly snow covered with one small patch of dry pavement from Tuolumne Meadows to Tioga Pass. This is an ideal winter for snow-shoeing especially along the trail corridors.

 

Update for January 7, 2015

January 07, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

So.... the sun and now the winds have ravaged the mountain snow. BUT, the low angle winter lighting on the newly formed waves of sastrugi is great for photography. And the peace and quiet of the new year makes touring in wilderness as lovely as ever.

 

Update for December 31, 2014

December 30, 2014 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The ski conditions and weather have held a bit of everything since our last post. It has snowed a little and the wind has blown a lot over the past ten days. It was unseasonably warm for a couple of days and now it is bitter cold. That being said, one can imagine the changes that have taken place with the ski conditions. Every turn is different and if you’re lucky you’ll hit a pocket of powder.

 

Update for December 18, 2014

December 20, 2014 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The winter rangers arrived to Tuolumne Meadows last week and this is our first conditions update of the season! We will be updating this report weekly this winter. We are happy to say that things are looking and feeling a lot more like winter around here than last season. The ski conditions and snow coverage are good making for ideal winter travel. Snow depths in the area range from 16 inches to 32 inches depending on aspect and elevation.

 

Update for January 5, 2014

January 11, 2014 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Different year, same dry Sierra’s. Calendar year 2013 was the driest year in the history of weather record keeping in Yosemite National Park. That being said, there is still enough snow in the greater Tuolumne area for skiing.

 

Update for December 22, 2013

December 22, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

It has been a dry start to the 2013-2014 winter. Our weather data is incomplete due to our late arrival at Tuolumne Meadows. Currently the snow depth is 7 to 14 inches, depending on aspect and elevation. That being said, the ski conditions on the Tioga Road and in Tuolumne Meadows are pretty darn good. The Tioga Road is virtually 100% snow covered in Yosemite National Park. There is some bare pavement on the Lee Vining grade from Tioga Pass to the gate at the bottom of Lee Vining Canyon. If approaching from the east, a bicycle would be a good idea until there is more snow.

 

Update for April 24, 2013 (last update for the season)

April 24, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

This is our last post of the winter of 2013. The snow stake here at Tuolumne Meadows reads 0 inches, so it must be time to head for our summer range down south at Sequoia National Park. There was a lot of melting this week as temperatures were in the upper 50s each day. There is patchy snow below 9,000 feet on all aspects except south, and the best coverage remains above 9,500 feet on north aspects.

 

Update for April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

This week provided some great corn skiing opportunities below tree line, but above there is still some challenging wind-affected snow. This should change for the better with the upcoming melt freeze cycle. There is more bare ground showing every day, and the best coverage remains on north facing slopes above 9,000 feet.

 

Update for April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

A little new snow followed by high winds hit the Tuolumne area this week. There was a brief period of good powder skiing before the north winds came along and redistributed the new snow and retextured the snow surface.

 

Update for April 3, 2013

April 03, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

A brief return to winter this week brought 8 inches of snow and a half inch of water equivalent to the Tuolumne Meadows area this week.

 

Update for March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Seasonal temperatures and dry conditions prevailed in the Tuolumne Meadows area this week. The little bit of snow that we did get early in the week helped to smooth the snow surface and give some grip to the waxless skis. Now is the time for ski touring as conditions are set up for covering the miles and expedient travel.

 

Update for March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Above-normal temperatures and dry conditions prevailed in the Tuolumne Meadows area this week. It is presently snowing, however, and though not forecast to be a significant precipitation event, any additional water added to the snowpack will be welcome.

 

Update for March 13, 2013

March 13, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Winter returned to Tuolumne Meadows for much of this week. As of this posting, however, temperatures are on the rise and dry conditions are forecast for much of the week ahead.

 

Update for March 6, 2013

March 06, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

One would think that after a record dry February the skiing would be pretty bad. In fact the skiing is vastly improved.

 

Update for February 27, 2013

February 27, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Whether you asked for it or not, spring is in the air. Warm temperatures and cool nights are forecast for the week. If we are lucky, this will provide for an early harvest of corn snow, although we prefer a diet of powder this time of year.

 

Update for February 20, 2013

February 20, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

President’s day weekend saw lots of people taking advantage of the spring like weather and enjoying the skiing in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

 

Update for February 13, 2013

February 13, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The Tuolumne Meadows area received three inches of snow and three feet of wind this week. This, as well as, the cold snap that we are in the midst of has left the ski conditions extremely variable.

 

Update for February 6th

February 07, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

It was a dry week with calm winds and seasonal temperatures in the Tuolumne Meadows area. The base snow depth remains unchanged in spite of the persistent dry weather, however, and coverage is still excellent for ski touring.

 

Update for January 30, 2013

February 05, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

December came in with a bang and January is going out with a whimper. Only 14 inches of snow fell this month, but thanks to the short days of winter, the base depth remains solid. What snow did fall, has been thrown back, forth and beyond with some fierce winds. One would think with the week of warm temperatures there would be no loose snow to transport and to send flags of snow towering above the peaks, but that is not the case!

 

Update for January 23, 2013

January 23, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

We're sad to say, this was the first week since December 3rd that there is no new snow to report.

 

Update for January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The cold snap that covered the Western US this week also visited Tuolumne Meadows and its icy grip could be felt for most of the week. There were 3 consecutive days where the low temperature was -17, -22, and -21 respectively.

 

Update for January 9, 2013

January 09, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Ski conditions this week were shaped by windy and warm weather conditions. The thermometer hit 55°F and we had several days of high North East winds. Wind effected snow is now prevalent on most aspects above tree line. There is still soft snow below tree line, though the warm temperatures have confined the good skiing to the North aspects.

 

Update for January 2, 2013

January 03, 2013 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

The winter rangers got what they wished for this Christmas in abundance. Presents were under (and on top of) every tree! Now, however, the snow has been blown off most of the branches after a pretty significant northeast wind event. Above treeline, sastrugi and wind crusts of varying densities are lurking. In some places, where the snow has been deposited or where it has been protected, it remains soft. Below treeline, the trail breaking has become much easier.

 

Update for December 26, 2012

December 27, 2012 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

Wow. After last winter we were wondering if we had made a wise choice moving to the Sierras from the snowiest place in Colorado. This week was certainly testimony that this can also be a “snowy range.” There were essentially two storms that hit the Tuolumne area this week and accounted for a whopping 56” of new snow.

 

Update for December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

It was a snowy week in the Tuolumne area. We had measurable snowfall 5 out of 7 days. Though it was not the big Sierra dump, the snowfall this week contributed to the settled base depth, which in turn contributed to more favorable ski conditions.

 

Update for December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012 Posted by: Laura & Rob Pilewski

This is the first weekly update for the winter of 2012-2013. We arrived at Tuolumne Meadows after skiing up the Tioga Road from Lee Vining Canyon on December 3rd.

 

Update for April 11, 2012

May 13, 2012 Posted by: Laura & Rob Pilewski

It has been great spring skiing in the Tuolumne Meadows vicinity. The weather this week was dominated by warm, sunny days and clear, cold nights. This is the ideal formula for setting up the snowpack for Sierra corn skiing. Most aspects were skiing well between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM.

 

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