As recounted on January 1, 2017 - updated April 17, 2019
Here on the mountain, weather has always played an important role in cabin/ski life so as a cabin owner we started keeping a log of morning weather conditions. Originally this entailed a simple indoor/outdoor thermometer for temperature and visual observation for the other important stuff.
As we sat every morning drinking our coffee and watching the weather go by, these things were written on a calendar and then later into a log book. (Credit to the Newf's for giving us this idea)
Sometimes we noticed that a ski hill manager would try and increase skier and boarder visits by starting to embellish the morning snow report. Suddenly we had snowfall overnight far greater than actually fell and manufactured inversions. Now we were not all that comfortable with this system of reporting but felt helpless to correct it.
We would sit in the cabin each morning, listen to the snow report, compare that to our personal observations and measurements and think, where'd they get that information?
This led to the need for an impartial snow measurement and reporting system and Hudson Bay Mountain Weather was conceived. We just had to figure out now how we were going to achieve this.
The very first attempt was simply amending a web page content , re-publish and subsequently we had a very simple morning snow report on this site. This only worked when we were in residence (weekends) and didn't cover the rest of the operating days in a week. Now being a generally lazy bunch, who would rather drink coffee and watch the weather go by, we needed to automate this.
So, we went looking for a consumer system that would record the pertinent information, temperature, winds, precipitation) and upload to the internet automatically without having to have a computer running all the time. Ambient weather just happened to have a system that would meet our needs. So we identified a Davis Vantage Pro II cabled weather station and a NSLU2 power by Meteohub weather server as a package. Subsequently, in 2008 the Hudson Bay Mountain Weather service was born and hosted on this site.
Drawbacks to this automated site were the original NLSU2 server would not automatically recover from a power failure. One had to travel to the cabin and push the power button to restore the service. In those early years we had many power failures. Therefore, in 2014 we replaced the NSLU2 with a Sheeva Plug which will now automatically power back on after power is restored.
The system has evolved since establishment in 2008, addition of a solar and ultra violet sensors and the addition of a rain gauge heater. With the addition of the rain gauge heater, we now had liquid equivalent snowfall. We now needed a formula to convert this to snow depth. We found a relevant formula but it needed to be tested. This led to the creation and the snow table was born.
For the first several years, each morning at a fixed time, the snow on the table was measured by tape measure and compared to the calculated snow depth. Minor adjustments have been made overtime and accuracy is reasonable. There are some exceptions, such as extreme cold - heater can't keep up, high winds - capture rate.
It was now time to take the snow table out of service, or so we thought. Instead a camera and depth marker was added to give a visual reading. This image is uploaded and displayed with the calculated snowfall information to confirm a comparison for accuracy.
We continue to update our equipment and presentations as feedback is received and digested.