Skiing the Cascade Volcanoes
        Amar Andalkar's Ski Mountaineering and Climbing Site
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
Cascade Snowfall and Snowdepth 2002-2003


2002-2003 Snow Season Summary

See the main Cascade Snowfall and Snowdepth page for historical snowpack info.
Detailed Snow Season Reports: 2005-2006, 2004-2005, 2003-2004, 2002-2003; see also Previous Seasons, Normals & Info, and Cascades El Niño / La Niña
NEW: Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots

    The 2002-2003 season was an extremely unusual, truly bizarre snow year in the Cascades, beginning with prolonged drought from October through early December, followed by tremendous near-record snowfalls until New Years Day, especially in California. But the heart of the winter season in January and February had well below-normal snowfall throughout the range, with only a few scattered storm cycles as snowpacks dwindled to 50% and even 40% of normal depths in Oregon and Washington. However, the finish was quite spectacular, with March and April again having near-record snowfalls especially in British Columbia and California. As of May 1, the snowpack in northern California was significantly above-normal, while it was close to normal depths throughout the rest of the Cascades from Oregon to British Columbia, except at low elevations where it was below-normal. Snowdepths in northern California were the largest in 5 years, comparable to the huge El Niño year of 1997-98.
    Overall, the 2002-2003 season was average to spectacular at higher elevations, but quite dismal at low elevations throughout the Cascade Range. The spring and early summer were in fine shape for ski mountaineering on the volcanoes, most notably on Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak in California. The greatest snowdepth recorded anywhere in the Cascades (and in North America) during the season was a surprising 245" (622 cm) on May 1, 2003, at Lake Helen on Lassen Peak, following near-record snowfall of about 17 ft during the month of April. The graph below summarizes snowdepths at 10 important sites throughout the entire Cascade Range during the 2002-2003 season (note that a few missing data values have been estimated). This is followed by a graph tracking the daily evolution of the snowpack on Mount Shasta, and an archive of the monthly snowdepth stats and commentaries during the season can be found below the graphs.



Daily Evolution of the Snowpack


    This very informative plot shows the evolution of the snowpack during the 2002-2003 season at the two automated measuring stations on Mount Shasta, located at Sand Flat (6800 ft / 2100 m) on the southwest side and Old Ski Bowl (7600 ft / 2300 m) on the south. An ultrasonic distance sensor looking downward from an arm attached to a pole measures the depth (height) of the snowpack, while an antifreeze-filled "pillow" at ground level measures the gauge pressure at the bottom of the snowpack. The snow water content (SWC), which is the depth of water that would result if the snowpack were melted in place, equals the gauge pressure divided by the acceleration of gravity and the density of water, SWC = P / (g ρ). The data points shown in this graph are those recorded at midnight each day, although the sensors actually return hourly data. Note that the station in Old Ski Bowl was not operational before mid-December 2002.
    The most interesting features seen in the plot are the numerous jumps during major snowstorms, several of which deposited as much as 3-6 ft of snowfall, with over 10 ft during the first major storm in December. Each snowstorm is followed by a period of settlement, during which the snowdepth decreases as much as several inches per day while the SWC stays flat (or may even increase if snow is still slowly falling). This settlement continues until the next storm cycle again builds the snowpack. Unlike the highly variable snowdepth, the SWC only decreases if there is significant warm weather which actually melts the snowpack and causes runoff. In this year's data, there are no such decreases before mid-March, but significant warming later on during the spring will inevitably cause rapid decreases in both snowdepth and snow water content. The snowdepth at Old Ski Bowl has tracked that at Sand Flat fairly well throughout the season, but it is about 30-40% greater. This season's snowfall at Sand Flat through May 1 is probably about 500 inches (estimated from the SWC of 62 inches and by comparison with measured snowfall at Lassen Chalet), so the station in Old Ski Bowl has probably received close to 700 inches.

    Place your mouse over the image to add data from Sand Flat for the 2001-2002 season to the plot (this only works if you have a JavaScript-enabled browser). The May 1 snowdepth at Sand Flat is over three times greater in 2003 than in 2002. WOW! Looks like a great spring and early summer for ski mountaineering on Shasta!


Monthly Snowfall and Snowdepth Reports for the 2002-2003 Season


    The tables below show monthly snowfall and snowdepth info at 33 measurement sites along the entire length of the Cascade Range, primarily on or near the Cascade volcanoes. The frequency of data collection varies at these sites, from hourly automated telemetry to manual daily or monthly measurements. Note that multiple sites or data sources are found at several of these locations, and their data values typically differ slightly from each other. See Information about Cascade Snowdepth Measurement Sites for more details about these sites including normal snowdepths throughout the season.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 December 2002)

    The early season featured mostly clear and sunny weather, with consistent stable high pressure and a strong temperature inversion causing a severe lack of snowfall throughout the Cascade Range. October was almost completely dry, and November remained so until the first major storm system came ashore in northern California on November 7. Over 3 ft of snow fell on Mount Shasta in three days, and almost 4 ft at Crater Lake starting a day later. Washington missed out though, as snowfall amounts dropped rapidly north of Mount Hood and Saint Helens, which received about 2 ft, with mostly rain below 5000 ft elevation. The northern WA Cascades and southwest BC got more snowfall in the middle of the month, but November finished dry throughout the entire range. All Northwest ski areas except Whistler remained closed, and ski conditions were marginal and often nasty.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 01 Dec 2002 17"
45%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 Dec 2002 17"40%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ftno data     —  —  —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 Dec 2002 19"46%43"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft01 Dec 2002 30"75%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ftno data     —  —  —  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Dec 2002 16"33%30"
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Dec 2002 0"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%1"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Dec 2002 8"17%44"
White Pass4500 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Dec 2002 11"25%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Dec 2002 4"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Dec 2002 2"3%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%0"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Dec 2002 8"19%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Dec 2002 8"30%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ftmissing data —  —  —  
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Dec 2002 9"40%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Dec 2002 5"15%47"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Dec 2002 5"20%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Dec 2002 14"70%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Dec 2002 14"70%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ftno data     —  —  —  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ftno data     —  —  —  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft01 Dec 2002 12"50%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ftno data     —  —  —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 Dec 2002 0"0%0"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ftno data     —  —  —  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Dec 2002 8"36%28"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 January 2003)

    The early-season dry pattern continued unabated into December. The high pressure finally broke down on December 9, beginning a huge storm cycle which would last until the New Year. The bulk of the moisture was directed into northern California, as over 10 ft of snow fell on Mount Shasta during the next week with similar amounts on Lassen Peak. The storms continued one after another with only brief pauses until January 1. The year-to-date snowfall listed for Lassen Chalet is probably an underestimate, as snow fell so rapidly and settled so quickly during this period that only the increase in snow water content (SWC) could provide a fair estimate of snowfall. By January 1, some 33 inches of SWC had been gained at Sand Flat on Shasta, so snowfall on Shasta and Lassen for the three-week period was probably about 250-300 inches. Snowfall amounts decreased significantly to the north throughout Oregon, Washington, and into BC, with low elevation sites in these areas receiving considerable rainfall. However, southwestern BC received a big Christmas present from Santa, as 14 inches fell at Whistler on December 24 followed by 41 inches on the 25th, finally boosting snowpacks there to above-normal levels.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 30 Dec 2002 66"
97%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft02 Jan 2003 103"115%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ftno data     —  —  —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 Jan 2003 72"114%175"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft06 Jan 2003 71"88%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ft31 Dec 2002 39"74%—  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Jan 2003 84"95%178"
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Jan 2003 32"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Jan 2003 43"69%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Jan 2003 35"66%48"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 Jan 2003 50"125%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Jan 2003 72"79%205"
White Pass4500 ft01 Jan 2003 35"100%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Jan 2003 61"73%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Jan 2003 84"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Jan 2003 82"108%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Jan 2003 55"74%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Jan 2003 33"106%48"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Jan 2003 62"89%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Jan 2003 54"108%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft01 Jan 2003 90"—  150"
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Jan 2003 58"138%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Jan 2003 89"139%177"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Jan 2003 85"160%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Jan 2003 59"147%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Jan 2003 60"150%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ftno data     —  —  —  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft01 Jan 2003 155"230%—  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft01 Jan 2003 122"240%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ftno data     —  —  —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 Jan 2003 30"200%56"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ftno data     —  —  —  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Jan 2003 126"215%217"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 February 2003)

    The huge December storm cycle ended abruptly on January 1 in the southern part of the range, and tailed off rapidly in the northern part following a major warm and rainy storm system at the start of the month. A return to the early-season pattern of stable high-pressure then ensued throughout the range. A major storm on January 10-12 brought 2-3 ft of snow to Shasta and Lassen, but this would be the only significant snowstorm for the entire month in the southern Cascades. The latter part of the month brought heavy precipitation to the northern parts of the range, but unfortunately very high snow levels meant that most of it fell as rain at the measuring sites. Snowdepths dipped to dire levels at many locations by the end of the month, with northern Oregon leading the suffering at only about 40% of normal snowpack. The situation was somewhat better farther north and south, but only California remained above-normal by February 1.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 31 Jan 2003 80"
89%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 Feb 2003 97"85%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ft31 Jan 2003 38"65%—  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 Feb 2003 77"95%245"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft30 Jan 2003 72"66%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ft29 Jan 2003 30"38%—  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Feb 2003 82"66%250"
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Feb 2003 40"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Feb 2003 58"67%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Feb 2003 41"80%87"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 Feb 2003 48"83%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Feb 2003 78"59%273"
White Pass4500 ft01 Feb 2003 26"50%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Feb 2003 71"70%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Feb 2003 52"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Feb 2003 75"64%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Feb 2003 44"43%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Feb 2003 2"5%50"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Feb 2003 41"41%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Feb 2003 33"43%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft01 Feb 2003 70"—  185"
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Feb 2003 31"52%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Feb 2003 64"69%214"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Feb 2003 61"75%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Feb 2003 34"74%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Feb 2003 68"120%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ft28 Jan 2003 130"148%—  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft01 Feb 2003 125"140%—  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft28 Jan 2003 96"132%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ft31 Jan 2003 67"120%—  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft31 Jan 2003 10"45%64"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft28 Jan 2003 153"126%—  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Feb 2003 90"105%255"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 March 2003)

    The bleak snowpack situation continued into early February, as cooler weather and a few small storms in the northern Cascades did little to build the snowpack, while California remained dry. The snowdepth reached a minimum on February 15 just before a major storm system moved ashore. This quickly dumped about 2 ft of snow on Shasta and Lassen, but then the storm track shifted north where it was needed most in Oregon and Washington. Cooler westerly flow allowed most of the heavy precipitation to fall as snow, and most sites in this region received 2-6 ft of snowfall in a series of storms over the next week. Snowdepths edged back up towards respectable levels especially at higher-elevation sites on Mounts Hood, Rainier, and Baker, but still only northern California had depths at or above normal amounts by March 1.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 28 Feb 2003 77"
71%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 Mar 2003 103"75%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ft26 Feb 2003 45"61%—  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 Mar 2003 78"82%267"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft25 Feb 2003 89"62%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ft24 Feb 2003 43"43%—  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Mar 2003 115"76%329"
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Mar 2003 72"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Mar 2003 67"67%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Mar 2003 44"49%104"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 Mar 2003 63"98%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Mar 2003 109"69%337"
White Pass4500 ft01 Mar 2003 36"64%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Mar 2003 89"70%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Mar 2003 76"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Mar 2003 97"69%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Mar 2003 64"54%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Mar 2003 22"47%82"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Mar 2003 67"58%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Mar 2003 50"55%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft01 Mar 2003 90"—  240"
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Mar 2003 47"68%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Mar 2003 73"65%247"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Mar 2003 74"75%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Mar 2003 41"68%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Mar 2003 82"110%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ft25 Feb 2003 129"120%—  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft01 Mar 2003 136"125%—  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft25 Feb 2003 100"109%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ft24 Feb 2003 72"100%—  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 Mar 2003 14"54%84"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft25 Feb 2003 160"107%—  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Mar 2003 96"87%282"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 April 2003)

    The month of March brought a remarkable turnabout in the fortunes of the Cascade snowpack, too late to save the season at many ski areas but just in time to begin building up the snowpack for spring and summer ski mountaineering. The first days were mostly dry and inauspicious, but then a major storm system driven by westerly and northwesterly flow brought massive amounts of snow to southern Washington and northern Oregon on March 5-7. Snow levels dropped to near sea level as 4-6 ft of snowfall was recorded in 2 days at Crystal Mountain and Mount Hood, tailing off to the south with about 3 ft on Mount Bachelor and less than 2 ft at Crater Lake. (I remember swimming in 3-5 ft of fresh, dry powder at Crystal Mountain on March 7, almost Utah-style snow with 5% water content! A truly amazing day, but tempered by sadness at news of the suffocation death of a skier in a tree well.) However, the cool and wet pattern soon shifted to a warm and wet one in the northern Cascades, with rain at many low elevation sites over the next few days. High elevation sites did well though, such as the 47 inches received at Whistler Mountain on March 12-13 (Whistler nearly set a new March snowfall record with 132 inches [336 cm] during the month, surpassing even the huge March of 1999 and trailing 1974 by only 3 inches [7 cm]). The only major storm system to hit the California Cascades during the month dumped 4-6 ft of snow there from March 13-17, leaving the rest of March dry in the south. But the northern Cascades received another storm cycle from the March 20-27, dropping 3-6 ft from Mount Bachelor north into southwestern British Columbia. By April 1, snowdepths were near-normal in much of the Cascades, except at low elevation sites which remained significantly below normal.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 31 Mar 2003 116"
100%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 Apr 2003 138"95%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ft01 Apr 2003 50"66%—  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 Apr 2003 111"109%399"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft01 Apr 2003 137"83%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ft30 Mar 2003 55"49%—  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Apr 2003 171"98%523"
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Apr 2003 100"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Apr 2003 84"82%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Apr 2003 50"58%191"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 Apr 2003 76"110%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Apr 2003 151"86%492"
White Pass4500 ft01 Apr 2003 42"78%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Apr 2003 127"85%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Apr 2003 101"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Apr 2003 168"103%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Apr 2003 100"76%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Apr 2003 32"80%153"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Apr 2003 100"81%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Apr 2003 66"65%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft01 Apr 2003 115"85%325"
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Apr 2003 55"73%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Apr 2003 96"77%320"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Apr 2003 88"81%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Apr 2003 44"70%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Apr 2003 75"95%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ft28 Mar 2003 151"124%—  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft01 Apr 2003 150"120%—  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft28 Mar 2003 116"116%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ft25 Mar 2003 83"104%—  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 Apr 2003 0"0%105"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft24 Mar 2003 186"105%—  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Apr 2003 105"101%350"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 April 2003)

    April continued the stormy pattern established in March, with cool and unstable air maintaining clouds and showers at moderately-low snow levels over most of the Oregon and Washington Cascades. The big storm systems decided to head for California, though, bringing major snowfalls at very low snow levels, sometimes even lower than those found far to the north during the same time period. The first major storm brought 2-3 ft to Shasta and Lassen on April 2-4, followed by warm and dry weather and then an even bigger storm which dumped 3-5 ft from April 12-14. The Oregon Cascades shared in the bounty, with about 4 ft of snow during the first week of April from Crater Lake to Mount Hood, and as far north as Mount Saint Helens. The Washington Cascades have largely missed out on the April festivities thus far, but southwestern BC has not. Whistler received 3-4 ft on April 7-9, and appears headed for a record April snowfall to follow its near-record March, making this now the 3rd snowiest year there in the last two decades. Overall, the Cascade snowpack is near-normal in most areas as of mid-April, except for low elevation sites which are all significantly below normal. Southwestern BC enjoys a slightly above-normal snowpack, while northern California shines with a snowdepth about 150% of normal at sites on Shasta and Lassen.


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 15 Apr 2003 120"
110%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft15 Apr 2003 140"100%—  
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ftno data     —  —  —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft15 Apr 2003 126"127%460"
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft10 Apr 2003 131"80%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ftno data     —  —  —  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft15 Apr 2003 148"88%—  
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft15 Apr 2003 104"—  —  
Stevens Pass4000 ft15 Apr 2003 78"83%—  
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft15 Apr 2003 42"73%218"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft15 Apr 2003 70"99%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft15 Apr 2003 155"90%549"
White Pass4500 ft15 Apr 2003 30"67%—  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft15 Apr 2003 126"90%—  
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft15 Apr 2003 115"—  —  
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft15 Apr 2003 175"109%—  
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft15 Apr 2003 105"81%—  
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft15 Apr 2003 6"23%175"
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft15 Apr 2003 99"81%—  
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft15 Apr 2003 69"71%—  
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft15 Apr 2003 114"90%370"
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft15 Apr 2003 53"56%—  
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft15 Apr 2003 105"91%381"
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft15 Apr 2003 92"90%—  
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft15 Apr 2003 59"95%—  
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft15 Apr 2003 94"132%—  
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ft no data     —  —  —  
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft15 Apr 2003 185"160%—  
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft15 Apr 2003 138"153%—  
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ft no data     —  —  —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft15 Apr 2003 13"115%160"
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft no data     —  —  —  
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft14 Apr 2003 144"150%451"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 May 2003)

    The big news continues to come from the California Cascades. A series of major winter-like storm systems have dumped massive amounts of snow on Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak throughout the month of April, building snowpacks to a seasonal high. This was capped by the intense storm cycle of April 24-29, which dumped another 4-6 ft on the mountains of the region. As of May 1, the snowdepth on Shasta and Lassen is 150-190% of normal for this date and is comparable to the huge snow years of 1994-95 and 1997-98, which were the largest since the record season of 1982-83. The Shasta and Lassen snowpacks are also tops in the entire Cascade Range by a significant margin, with snowdepths of 40-60% greater than Hood, Rainier, or Baker at trailhead elevations. At the northern end of the range, Whistler Mountain followed up its near-record snowfall of March with a record amount for April of 76 inches (194 cm), most of it falling during the first half of the month. Whistler now has the most above-normal snowpack in the range outside of California (but only at high elevations, the snowdepths decrease dramatically at lower elevations).


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 30 Apr 2003 112"
106%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 May 2003 126"95%—   156", 07 Apr 2003
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ft30 Apr 2003 28"47%—  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft01 May 2003 112"120%475" 138", 10 Apr 2003
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft28 Apr 2003 123"78%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ft30 Apr 2003 54"53%—  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 May 2003 138"100%586" 171", 01 Apr 2003
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 May 2003 101"—  —   114", 06 Apr 2003
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 May 2003 67"81%—   105", 09 Mar 2003
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 May 2003 24"39%227"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ft01 May 2003 59"76%—  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 May 2003 146"91%573" 175", 26 Mar 2003
White Pass4500 ftno data     —  —  —  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 May 2003 123"90%—   145", 26 Mar 2003
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 May 2003 109"—  —   135", 06 Apr 2003
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 May 2003 174"115%—   187", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 May 2003 104"81%—   129", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 May 2003 0"0%180" 77", 08 Mar 2003
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 May 2003 97"84%—   118", 06 Apr 2003
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 May 2003 63"69%—   95", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft01 May 2003 107"90%390" 132", 06 Apr 2003
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 May 2003 46"78%—   72", 06 Apr 2003
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 May 2003 113"110%407" 120", 06 Apr 2003
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 May 2003 97"105%—   111", 06 Apr 2003
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 May 2003 51"106%—   60", 06 Apr 2003
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 May 2003 101"160%—   106", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ft01 May 2003 190"178%—   190", 01 May 2003
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft01 May 2003 203"190%—   207", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft01 May 2003 147"182%—   155", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ft01 May 2003 105"191%—   105", 01 May 2003
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 May 2003 14"285%201" 32", 31 Dec 2002
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft01 May 2003 245"153%—   245", 01 May 2003
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft30 Apr 2003 206"—  531" 206", 30 Apr 2003


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 June 2003)

    A series of smaller but still significant storms continued to maintain and build the deep snowpack in northern California in early May, but then the snow pretty much stopped by the middle of the month, and warm sunny weather began to diminish the massive snowpack there. Note that snowdepths on Lassen Peak remain the deepest in the entire range, with over 10 ft at the Lassen Chalet and 15 ft at Lake Helen, although official data is no longer available. Modest snows also occurred early in the month in more northern parts of the range, but the fairly average snowpack in these regions began to rapidly melt away, especially at low elevations. As of June 1 this year, fantastic corn snow conditions are generally found throughout the Cascade Range at higher elevations (above 4000 ft in the north ranging to 6500 ft in the south), especially on the volcanoes. And that's the way it should be!


(Italicized numbers are estimated)
State /
Province

Measurement Site Location
Elevation
Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BRITISH
  COLUMBIA
Tenquille Lake (east of Mount Meager)5500 ft 31 May 2003 85"
115%
—  
Upper Squamish River (NW of Mt Cayley)4400 ft01 Jun 2003 87"110%—   156", 07 Apr 2003
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley)3400 ft30 May 2003 8"43%—  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (north of Garibaldi)5400 ft02 Jun 2003 79"111%484" 138", 10 Apr 2003
Orchid Lake (south of Mount Garibaldi)3900 ft26 May 2003 87"86%—  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)3600 ftno data     —  —  —  
WASHINGTON Mount Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker)4200 ft01 Jun 2003 84"—  586+" 171", 01 Apr 2003
Middle Fork Nooksack (NW of Mt Baker)5000 ft01 Jun 2003 70"—  —   114", 06 Apr 2003
Stevens Pass4000 ft01 Jun 2003 14"60%—   105", 09 Mar 2003
Snoqualmie Pass3000 ft01 Jun 2003 0"0%245"
Crystal Mountain Ski Area (NE of Rainier)4400 ftno data     —  —  —  
Mount Rainier, Paradise (south side)5400 ft01 Jun 2003 110"90%603" 175", 26 Mar 2003
White Pass4500 ftno data     —  —  —  
White Pass, Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks)5900 ft01 Jun 2003 84"—  —   145", 26 Mar 2003
Mount Saint Helens, Swift Creek (south side)3800 ft01 Jun 2003 70"—  —   135", 06 Apr 2003
OREGON Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge (south side)6000 ft01 Jun 2003 119"—  —   187", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Hood Test Site (south side)5400 ft01 Jun 2003 63"86%—   129", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft01 Jun 2003 0"0%188" 77", 08 Mar 2003
Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side)5200 ft01 Jun 2003 55"—  —   118", 06 Apr 2003
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass)4800 ft01 Jun 2003 10"25%—   95", 06 Apr 2003
Mount Bachelor Ski Area (north side)6300 ft26 May 2003 76"120%410" 132", 06 Apr 2003
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak)4900 ft01 Jun 2003 0"0%—   72", 06 Apr 2003
Crater Lake, Park Headquarters (SW side)6400 ft01 Jun 2003 57"115%423" 120", 06 Apr 2003
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side)6000 ft01 Jun 2003 49"110%—   111", 06 Apr 2003
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin)6000 ft01 Jun 2003 1"15%—   60", 06 Apr 2003
CALIFORNIA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera)6700 ft01 Jun 2003 33"—  —   106", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side)7900 ftno data     —  —  —   190", 01 May 2003
Mount Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side)7600 ft02 Jun 2003 127"160%—   207", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side)6800 ft01 Jun 2003 80"—  —   155", 29 Apr 2003
Mount Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side)6200 ftno data     —  —  —   105", 01 May 2003
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side)5800 ft01 Jun 2003 0"0%201" 32", 31 Dec 2002
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side)8200 ft01 Jun 2003 180"—  —   245", 01 May 2003
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak)6700 ft01 Jun 2003 120"—  550" 206", 30 Apr 2003




Data on this page provided by:
        Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, Oregon & Washington Snow Surveys (NRCS),
        California Cooperative Snow Surveys, British Columbia River Forecast Centre & Snow Surveys,
        Western Regional Climate Center, National Climatic Data Center, Environment Canada National Climate Archive,
        Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks,
        Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Mount Baker Ski Area, Stevens Pass Ski Area, and Mount Bachelor Ski Resort.

Detailed Snow Season Reports: 2005-2006 | 2004-2005 | 2003-2004 | 2002-2003 | Previous Seasons | Normals & Info | Cascades El Niño / La Niña
Table of Contents | Introduction | Ratings | WebCams | Bibliography | Highest Volcanoes | Snowfall & Snowdepth | Monthly Chart | Conifers | Compare | Distance | Sun Chart
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
All material on this website is ©1997-2014 by Amar Andalkar unless otherwise noted.
Last modified Monday, January 23, 2006