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NWS meteorologists explain weather systems required for snow on ski valley

Posted at 5:51 AM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 12:05:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz, - Every year families eagerly wait for the first snowfall of the season to flock to Ski Valley and rejoice.

However, before they can do that there have to be 18 inches of snow on the ground.

Even when it snow falls in the high country, those who work at Ski Valley have to make sure the snow packs down to at least 18 inches before they can open.

This year families got the chance to head up to the popular destination and enjoy the slopes for the first time on Dec 30.

Since 1969 there have only been two times that there has not been at least one day of snow allowing the slopes to open. The most recent time was back in 2017.

Rob Howlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said the weather changes from year to year up on the slopes aren't surprising to him.

"There's going to be a lot of year to year variability in our weather patterns. Last year we saw that things didn't quite workout for us but this year we've seen about five weather systems coming through already this season and perhaps that's something to do with El Nino but it's just this inter seasonable variability that we'll see from year to year and it's not entirely uncommon," Howlett said.