2014 Snowpack Update

February 17, 2014

So far, February has been a great month for our 2014 snowpack!  Some parts of Central Idaho had been holding below average snowpack coming into February.  The recent large storm systems have left behind large amounts of high-density snow, bumping up the snowpack to 100% for the Salmon Basin.  The higher density snow holds more water, helping to increase the snow to water equivalent percentage of the snowpack.  With more snow in the forecast, hopefully, the snowpack will continue to increase over the next two months.  Currently the Middle Fork Salmon and Main Salmon rivers look to be setting up for a great rafting season!  I took the photo below of a mountain goat and her kid in the headwaters of the North Fork Salmon River a few days ago. Idaho Mountain Goat This winter WRO has been providing backcountry ski lodging at The Stateline Yurt.  The Stateline Yurt is located about 1.5 miles behind Lost Trail Ski Area on the Salmon Challis National Forest.  The Stateline Yurt has been a fun winter project and it has been good to spend more time outside in the winter backcountry.  When making turns in the fresh snow around the yurt, it’s nice to think it is the same water we will be rafting on in the Salmon River!  The photo of the yurt below is looking down into the headwaters of the North Fork Salmon River. Stateline Yurt Unfortunately at the moment the desert regions of Southern Idaho and the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness are still lacking snow in 2014.  In February there has been some good snowfall in this region, but it was followed by warmer weather and rain which melted some of the lower elevation snow.  On February 16th the Owyhee River at the Rome Gauge was running 3500 cfs, which is a good rafting flow.  This February runoff makes me a little sad that I wasn’t down there to take advantage.  However, this is not out of the ordinary, and there are often one or two spikes each winter in these areas.  With more snow in the forecast, I am not giving up hope for fun adventures on the Owyhee and Jarbidge Bruneau rivers this April and May. Idaho Snowpack On a brighter note, Montana has been doing very well with above average winter precipitation.  The Flathead basin is currently sitting at 110% of normal snow water equivalent!  We are excited looking into the 2014 season on both the Middle Fork and South Fork Flathead rivers.  Is Glacier National Park in your summer vacation plans?  If so, combining a Middle Fork Flathead trip is a great option for a well-rounded Montana Experience! We will continue to hope for more snow in the next couple months and we are definitely getting excited about the 2014 river season here at WRO! ~Seth Tonsmeire