The season starts when the storms start and continues until it/s obvious winter is over. The season runs normally from early December through the middle of March; however, IIRC, the earliest contest storm occurred in late November and the latest storm was in April. Most years there have been ten contest storms.
Not every snowstorm that affects the forecast area will trigger a contest. The criteria used to decide whether a storm is contest-worthy are loosely defined as one that/s expected to:
- Affect at least six to eight forecast stations and
- Produce more than a nuisance snowfall (>= 4") and
- Be well-progged by NWP ~36 to 48 hours before snow is observed at any one station.