Six Incredible Sierra Nevada, California Snow Records:

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The Donner Party in 1846 got hit with the famous Sierra Nevada snows. You know how this one ended...
The Donner Party in 1846 got hit with the famous Sierra Nevada snows. You know how this one ended…

The Sierra Nevada is no stranger to big snowstorms.  As far back as November 1846, The Donner Party learned this the hard way with a 5-foot overnight snowstorm.  Since snowfall record keeping began in 1879, there have been some incredible snowstorms in the Sierra Nevada of California.

Donner Summit store in 2011.  Ridiculously buried.
Donner Summit store in 2011. Ridiculously buried. photo: usa today

The Sierras still get huge amounts of snow with Sugar Bowl ski resort leading the charge with 500″ of snow per year.  This isn’t surprising as Sugar Bowl is located on Donner Pass, where many of the records below took place.

22" of 5% density snow on December 7th, 2013.  skier:  james yim.  photo:  snowbrains.com
22″ of 5% density snow on December 7th, 2013. skier: james yim. photo: snowbrains.com

6 Incredible Sierra Nevada, CA Snow Records:

#1:  Echo Summit (hwy 50), Lake Tahoe, CA

  • 67-Inches of snow in 24-hours on January 4th-5th, 1982.  2nd heaviest USA 24-hour snowfall on record.

#2:  Donner Summit (hwy 80), CA

  • 298-Inches of snow in April, 1880.  USA’s snowiest April on record.
Tamarack, CA after a big one.
Tamarack, CA after a big one. photo: mic mac media

#3:  Tamarack (hwy 4), CA

  • 390-Inches of snow in January 1911.  USA’s one month snowfall record.

#4:  Tamarack, CA

  • 454-Inches of snow depth in March 1911.  USA’s seasonal snow depth record.

#5:  Tamarack, CA

  • 884-inches of snow in 1906-07.  Sierra Nevada record snowfall for one season.
Sadly, Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl is no more.  This place gets a ton of snow.
Sadly, Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl is no more. This place gets a ton of snow.

#6:  Mount Shasta Ski Bowl, CA

  • 189-inches of snow in one storm February 13th – 19th, 1959.  USA’s single storm snowfall record (we know, not the Sierra Nevada – the Cascades, but still worth mentioning).
Donner Pass house on April 1st, 2011.  photo:  tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com
Donner Pass house on April 1st, 2011. photo: tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com

3 Bonus Snow Records for the Lake Tahoe Region:

#1:  The Biggest Snowstorm at the Donner Summit Snow Laboratory, CA

  • 186-inches (15.5 ft) of snow from March 27 to April 8, 1982 .

#2:  The Biggest 24-hour Snowstorms at the Donner Summit Snow Laboratory, CA

  • 52-inches of snow on February 3, 1989.

#3:  The Deepest Maximum Snow Depth at the Donner Summit Snow Laboratory

  • 311-inches (26 ft) of snow depth in 1952.
Donner Summit Snowfall and Snowpack records from 1879 to 2013.
Donner Summit Snowfall and Snowpack records from 1879 to 2013.

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One thought on “Six Incredible Sierra Nevada, California Snow Records:

  1. Hi there,
    Curious as to when an updated graph is to come out comparing this big season to 2017 compared to some big years in the past. Any idea when or how to find a recent snow graph?

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