Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated at least every Tuesday. Check back for updates as we add more features.

Snowmass and Aspen’s occupancy getting back on track for the winter season

Snowmass and Aspen’s combined paid occupancy for November 2021 reached 29.3%, surpassing last year’s 24.6% and 2019’s 23.8%, according to the November 2021 occupancy report for Aspen and Snowmass lodges compiled by local tourism officials and reservations tracking firm Destimetrics.

As of Nov. 30, December paid occupancy already on the books is at 59.3% for Aspen, up from 33.5% in 2020 and and a 16% jump from 51.1% in 2019. Snowmass is also seeing increased occupancy for December, from 44.2% in 2019 to 48.6% in 2021 as of Nov. 30.

The month of November starts the winter season as categorized by the report. As of Nov. 30, winter occupancy to date and on the books is at 43.4% for Aspen and Snowmass, up from 22.1% in 2020 and 41.6% in 2019.

Recent snow helps mountain snowpack

Last week’s snowfalls boosted local snowpack. SNOTEL sites that monitor snowfall throughout the winter show the snowpack at Independence Pass at 86.3% of average on Dec. 12 with a “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of 4.49 inches, up from 3.19 inches of SWE last week, which represented 70.9% of average. Last year on Dec. 12, the SNOTEL station up the pass recorded an SWE of 3.82 inches.

Snow water equivalent — the metric used to track snowpack — is the amount of water contained within the snowpack, which will become our future water supply running in local rivers and streams.

The monitoring station at the lower-elevation McClure Pass recorded an SWE of 2.28 inches, or 55.7% of average, on Dec. 12. A week before, the station reported 0.39 inches of water contained in the snowpack, or 11.6% of average. Last year, on that same day, the station measured a snowpack holding 2.2 inches of water, or 53.8% of average.

On the northeast side of the Roaring Fork Basin, snowpack at Ivanhoe contains slightly higher water levels than the 1991-2020 average, with 4.88 inches on Dec. 12, which is 106% of the average of 4.6 inches. It’s also up from last year’s 3.7 inches of SWE.

Winter weather brings temperature drop in Aspen

As it started to snow, Aspen experienced a temperature drop last week, from a high of 57°F on Dec. 2, which is 23.2 degrees above normal, to a high of 37°F on Dec. 7, which is 4.5 degrees above normal, according to temperatures recorded at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. Minimum dropped to 17°F on Dec. 6, which is 7.5°F above normal.

Aspen’s air quality remains ‘good’

The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week. The AQI index for ozone ranged from 32 on Dec. 7 and 9 to 38 on Dec. 10 and 11.

Laurine Lassalle is Aspen Journalism’s data desk editor, where she works to catalogue and analyze local public data. She also heads our our “Tracking the Curve” project, documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin,...