Musing on Mammoth Snowfall — 2015/2016 v1

What is a flat lander supposed to do when he cannot go to his happy place soon enough? Tease himself with a statistical analysis of Mammoth Mountain snowfall, of course! And so begins this season’s series that will pop up when the mood or Mother Nature demands it. First, some useful links:

View of The Minarates from the Top of The World, courtesy of

Early Season To Date

The snowfall for this season can and should be viewed with two lenses: 1 — It’s snowing tons and that is awesome! 2 — We are only having an average season so far. Both of these are true despite being somewhat conceptually at odds with each other. How so?

It’s Snowing: Given the dearth of snowfall in the past three years, the fact that El Nino seems to be headed our way is being embraced with wild optimism. And the early returns are there, as anecdotal reports of the fun being had are undeniable.

It’s Only Average So Far: As the chart below shows, the early snowfall has been almost spot on average. To be fair, Mammoth’s average total is over 30 feet of snow from October to June, so the term “average” has to be taken in context. Average at Mammoth is epic.

Data source:; n=47

Furthermore, the locals know that it doesn’t really start to snow until January. And the evidence of that can be found in the fact that 56% of an average year is based on snowfall from January to March. So, there is an opportunity to have a big winter despite an average early season, as there is basically a 50/50 chance that the total season will be above average. Said another way, a good early season is not the primary driver of an above average season, but it’s always good to start well.

All of that said, everyone I’ve talked to (or seen via Twitter, the ‘Gram, or FBook) said it is legit up there. So go enjoy your turns and as always, Pray For Snow!

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