Long time lurker here, chiming in. I always appreciate your data analysis, J.Spin. The numbers never lie so it's a great way to see if our perspectives line up with reality.
In the valleys, snow cover thus far has not felt that abnormal to me. We are always due a cutter or two so nothing new there. The pack has been thin, but these last two weeks of preservation weather has been nice. Even in the CPV, there have been more days this winter with white ground than not.
Where this season really starts to fall apart is in the mountains. This has felt like one of the slowest starts to a ski season that I can remember - barring the non-winter of 15/16. The lack of open natural snow trails has really stuck out to me.
I put together the graph below based on the numbers from the Mansfield stake. Sure enough, we are in bad company. I grew up in VT but was not around for 06-07 or 11-12, which is perhaps why this feels so abnormal. In reality, the graph shows that we are due one of these sub-1000 inch starts every 5 years or so. I haven't taken the time to add in the SDD for the whole season, but it would be interesting to see where some of these slow starts end up.
As others have been saying, we are one storm away from some good skiing. Hopefully this weekend comes through.