*The unofficial snow stake camera is cleared at 5:40 a.m. daily. The official snow stake is cleared at 5 a.m., when official 24-hour snowfall totals are recorded.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you report your snowfall totals?
Northstar's skiable terrain covers two mountains (Mt. Pluto and Lookout Mountain) and a large land area, which makes reporting snowfall very difficult since snow totals can vary across the area. We're committed to reporting our snow as accurately and transparently as possible.
Snowfall amounts are reported from the official summit snow stake and official mid-mountain snow stake.
Occasionally, the snow will be higher on one side of the snow stake. To report the most accurate number possible, we take the average across the width of the stake.
What time do you report your snow totals?
Snowfall amounts are reported from the official summit snow stake and official mid-mountain snow stake before 5:00 a.m., usually sometime between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The number on the stake is recorded into our database which then automatically delivers this number to our websites, our snow report email newsletters, and to third party websites.
The official summit and mid-mountain stakes are read again at 4:00 p.m. to begin tracking overnight snowfall amounts. These overnight amounts are included in the next day's report, along with the 24 hour amounts.
The unofficial snow stake (above) is photographed by a mountain camera daily at 5:00 a.m. then cleared at 5:45 a.m.
Why are there two snow stakes?
The two official snow stakes remain in their existing locations to provide the most accurate snowfall measurements in comparison to previous seasons. Snowfall measurements from these stakes are used for all official correspondence, including on the Northstar website, our snow and general resort email newsletters, and to third party websites.
What is the snow stake cam?
A new, third snow stake was installed for the 2013-2014 ski season to provide unofficial measurements via a live mountain cam. The cam also captures a 24-hour time lapse of snow accumulation. Snowfall measurements for this stake are used solely for the purpose of the online mountain cam.
While the official summit snow stake and the unofficial snow stake cam are located only 25 feet apart from each other, slight differences in measurement between the official snow stake and the mountain cam snow stake may still occur.
Where are the three snow stakes located?
The official summit snow stake and the unofficial snow stake cam are located just off of Flume Trail at 8,283' feet in elevation. They are approximately 25 feet apart from each other.
The official mid-mountain snow stake is located near Tubing Hill, at elevation 6875'.
What happens when there's a mistake?
Mistakes happen. We're humans working with complex databases and computer systems. We strive for accuracy every day, for every report, and have checks and balances in place to achieve this.
There have been situations in which someone has mistyped a number or when a natural occurrence such as wind or snow drifts have resulted in an inaccurate reading. We've been quick to correct these mistakes and re-issue our snow report.
If you ever have a question, concern or notice an inconsistency, please contact us immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who's responsible for checking the snow stakes?
Northstar's mountain operations team reads the two official snow stakes between 4:45 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Then they report the snowfall totals via telephone to the Northstar snow reporting team at 5:00 a.m.
The Snow reporting team then enters the calculations into a small handful of online databases that feed the information to the Northstar website, our snow and general resort email newsletters, and to third party websites.
How do you clear the snow stakes?
Northstar's mountain operations team is responsible for checking the two official snow stakes and then clearing them immediately after reporting the snowfall at 5:00 a.m.
An automatic system clears the unofficial snow stake cam at 5:40 a.m.
Why is your settled base reported as 18" at the beginning of the season?
Typically we need at least 18" of manmade and/or natural snow to open our early-season trails.
Where can I find the daily snow report?
Northstar's daily snow and conditions report can be found online at NorthstarCalifornia.com or blog.NorthstarCalifornia.com. It is also posted throughout the Village at Northstar outside the Tickets & Season Pass Office, in front of the Big Springs Express Gondola building, at the Drop-Off and Pick-Up areas, and inside Starbucks. It is also posted inside the Lodge at Big Springs at mid-mountain.