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Weather Wise: Showdown Buried

Weather Wise: Showdown Buried
Posted at 4:26 PM, Feb 20, 2023

Is there ever too much snow to ski? No, not really but there can be too much snow to get to the ski area. It's been a Presidents' Day storm to remember up at Showdown with more than four feet of snow so far and this storm is not over yet.

This is a perfect storm setup for Showdown Ski Area and the Little Belt Mountains. More than four feet has fallen in just the last 24 hours, with nearly three feet of that just last night. Highway 89 was closed earlier Monday morning because of the heavy snow and strong wind, so many of Showdown's employees could not get to work. Once the highways were opened, Showdown made an effort to operate the lifts and not waste all the powder. It took teamwork from staff that were delayed getting to the mountain and guests that volunteered to shovel snow from the lodge and lifts. As Montanans do, they came together and helped each other out in a major weather event.

A northwest flow is optimal for heavy snowfall in the Little Belt Mountains. What makes this a perfect storm scenario is a frontal boundary in the area that provides lift along with the topography and orographic lift. When the moisture comes from the northwest, it comes across the plains without other mountain ranges in the way that would consume some of the moisture and potential snow.

Again, this storm is not over with yet. An additional one to two feet could fall through Wednesday which could push storm totals to over six feet! That may require a little more help shoveling.