Alta Snowfall by Month

Utah Avalanche Center & USDA Forest Service

Alta Snowfall by Month is the chart and a table that contains historical snowfall data by month as recorded at the Alta Guard station (map) which is now part of the UDOT (Utah Dept. of Transportation) avalanche snow safety operation. This historical data was first compiled by Montgomery (“Monty”) Atwater who was the first snow ranger in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The chart linked to here is maintained on the Utah Avalanche Center website.

Official Alta Guard Records (Updated May 5, 2023):

  • Most 745.4 inches in 1994-95
  • 2nd Most 743.5 inches in 1983-84
  • Least 267.5 inches in 2014-15
  • For comparison 663.5 inches last season (2022-23)
  • Average is 497 inches (1945-46 to 2022-23)
  • But, what about the 903″ reported for 2022-23? (Read on…)

Note that these numbers will not be reflected in snow depths and seasonal totals reported by either Alta Ski Area or Snowbird. Alta Guard Station is considered the “official” point of measurement for Little Cottonwood Canyon. It is located on the south side of SR210 north of Goldminer’s Daughter lodge at Alta and as such receives less snow than upper elevation areas within the Alta Ski Area boundaries.  Also, importantly these numbers only include snowfall November through April, not October or May. In the case of the 2022-23 season we had on the order of 5 to 7 feet (60 to 84 inches) or more of snow in May up Little Cottonwood Canyon which is not included in “Snowfall at Alta Guard 1945 – Present.”

Let’s say, for discussion’s sake, there was an additional 6 feet (72 inches) at Alta Guard in May 2023, that would raise the season total to 663 + 72 = 735 inches, far below the 903 season total that Alta Ski area reports. In Alta’s defense I know that their numbers are verified by Alta Ski Patrol/Snow Safety and I consider their numbers very accurate and reliable. So, I’ll go with the 903 inches for the 2022-23 season in the upper reaches of Alta Ski Area. Compare that to the official amount of 282 inches for the 2021-22 season. On that basis alone the 2022-23 season was remarkable. For more on the 2022-23 season see “The Epic Utah Winter of 2022-23.