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Snowiest towns in New England, by pop


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#1
skierinvermont

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I was wondering if people more familiar had an idea what the snowiest towns in New England are (including NNE). Perhaps we could do it by 2 categories, population >1000 and >5000. I ask because my friend and I might be moving to Rangeley for the winter and I think the snowfall is ~115" which has got to be pretty close to #1 for towns >1000 population. But I'm not too familiar with what the northern VT, NH, ME towns get. I'm excited for all the snow, hopefully I get one of the jobs I applied for.

#2
Allenson

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Tough call for the 1000+ towns, being a lot of them in snowbelt areas. Any of the towns in Vermont that get upslope snow do pretty well and the same holds true for northern NH (Franconia, Jefferson, Randolf, etc.).

Here in VT, Stowe, Waitsfield, South Lincoln, Montgomery, Underhill, Ripton all come to mind. Further east, Walden, Cabot, Groton, Peacham, Washington, Corinth (heh), Brookfield, Strafford all do pretty well.

Down in southern VT, Killington, Plymouth, Weston, Londonderry, Windham, Marlboro, Halifax, Stamford, Woodford are good bets....

Any place with some elevation and out of any kind of precip-shadow are where to look.

#3
tamarack

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From the UCC data, I think 1981-2010 snowfall for selected Maine towns is:

Rangeley...117"
Eustis.........126" (Only from 1984-85, and well under 1,000 pop)
Caribou......112"
Oddly, Fort Kent shows only 92", but I put that to indifferent measurement. Sometimes it appears the report is made by subtracting yesterday's total depth from today's, and calling it the daily snowfall. In my 9 full winters there, taking what I considered to be careful and reasonably accurate (always chancey in windblown powder-on-powder) snowfall readings, I averaged 16" more than CAR and 36" more than Ft. Kent "official".

There are some higher elevation locations in N. NH (don't know if they're towns or merely measurement sites) with much higher snowfall. Diamond Pond, at over 2,000' and with only 12-13 yr records, averages a bit over 200".



#4
skierinvermont

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Tough call for the 1000+ towns, being a lot of them in snowbelt areas. Any of the towns in Vermont that get upslope snow do pretty well and the same holds true for northern NH (Franconia, Jefferson, Randolf, etc.).

Here in VT, Stowe, Waitsfield, South Lincoln, Montgomery, Underhill, Ripton all come to mind. Further east, Walden, Cabot, Groton, Peacham, Washington, Corinth (heh), Brookfield, Strafford all do pretty well.

Down in southern VT, Killington, Plymouth, Weston, Londonderry, Windham, Marlboro, Halifax, Stamford, Woodford are good bets....

Any place with some elevation and out of any kind of precip-shadow are where to look.



I'm not sure any of those average >115 though, except South Lincoln maybe which has 1200' elevation.. I think the others might be too low. South Lincoln could be 120-125 though.

Montgomery could be up there too even though it's only at 900-1000'. And I don't know much about Underhill but it looks like most of the town is down around 800'. Ripton could be close too being at 1400' but it's south of the snow belt.

#5
skierinvermont

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From the UCC data, I think 1981-2010 snowfall for selected Maine towns is:

Rangeley...117"
Eustis.........126" (Only from 1984-85, and well under 1,000 pop)
Caribou......112"
Oddly, Fort Kent shows only 92", but I put that to indifferent measurement. Sometimes it appears the report is made by subtracting yesterday's total depth from today's, and calling it the daily snowfall. In my 9 full winters there, taking what I considered to be careful and reasonably accurate (always chancey in windblown powder-on-powder) snowfall readings, I averaged 16" more than CAR and 36" more than Ft. Kent "official".

There are some higher elevation locations in N. NH (don't know if they're towns or merely measurement sites) with much higher snowfall. Diamond Pond, at over 2,000' and with only 12-13 yr records, averages a bit over 200".




nice! pretty wild you have averaged more than CAR given they average 112, are you on a hill out of town?

#6
CoastalWx

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Whitefield NH might do well in the greater than 1000 category. Parts of that town are near 1500ft, but I think the majority of the town is near 1000ft. They might get shadowed from the se, but they do get some upslope stuff.

Berlin NH is the only one I can think of >5,000 people, for that part of the state. I also have to think towns like Washington NH are right there too.

#7
Allenson

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I'm not sure any of those average >115 though, except South Lincoln maybe which has 1200' elevation.. I think the others might be too low. South Lincoln could be 120-125 though.

Montgomery could be up there too even though it's only at 900-1000'. And I don't know much about Underhill but it looks like most of the town is down around 800'. Ripton could be close too being at 1400' but it's south of the snow belt.

Regardless of elevation, I was just listing some snowy towns off the top of my head. No idea what they average but they all get a lot more than surrounding valley locations. Underhill gets a lot--ask Powderfreak. Hell, I average 118" here and S. Lincoln comes in at 125" upon inspection of the NOWData.

I also have to think towns like Washington NH are right there too.

Aye! A lesser-known town (shhh) but certainly a snowy spot in the highlands of SW NH. And yeah, Whitefield does get shadowed during coastal events but likely picks up upslope from the NW. Cold as hell there too--always one of the coldest readings on those clear, calm, bone chilling January morns.

#8
skierinvermont

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Regardless of elevation, I was just listing some snowy towns off the top of my head. No idea what they average but they all get a lot more than surrounding valley locations. Underhill gets a lot--ask Powderfreak. Hell, I average 118" here and S. Lincoln comes in at 125" upon inspection of the NOWData.


Aye! A lesser-known town (shhh) but certainly a snowy spot in the highlands of SW NH. And yeah, Whitefield does get shadowed during coastal events but likely picks up upslope from the NW. Cold as hell there too--always one of the coldest readings on those clear, calm, bone chilling January morns.


yeah hopefully powderfreak responds.. definitely quite a few in the 100-130" range that you listed but it's tough to pin them down exactly. Out of curiosity what's the base period of your 118?

#9
dryslot

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nice! pretty wild you have averaged more than CAR given they average 112, are you on a hill out of town?



He would be considered in the Foothills of Maine, You have the Coast, Coastal Plain, Foothills and the Mountains here in Maine

#10
eekuasepinniW

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Pittsburg, NH is a nice itty bitty town which averages 149"

Population was 890 last time I checked, though.

#11
tamarack

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nice! pretty wild you have averaged more than CAR given they average 112, are you on a hill out of town?


The 9 winters included 5 on the in-town flats at 550' or so (1976-77 thru 1980-81) and 4 in the back settlement at just under 1,000' (1981-82 thru 1984-85.) Since my CAR numbers are elsewhere I can't give details, but IIRC the CAR-MBY differences were similar in both places, with year-to-year noise much greater than the avg discrepancies. Except in near-freezing slopfests, typically early and late, the elevation didn't make a huge difference. However, in most winters one could see a change (a visible increase) in the snowbanks as one entered the St. John Valley SWCD on Rt 161, about halfway from CAR to Ft.Kent.

For the 9 years I was there, Ft. Kent "official" was 98", CAR 116", MBY 134". I also had 93.5" Jan. 1 (moving day) thru May 7, 1976, and had I moved in, say, early October that winter would've been over 140".

#12
mahk_webstah

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Whitefield NH might do well in the greater than 1000 category. Parts of that town are near 1500ft, but I think the majority of the town is near 1000ft. They might get shadowed from the se, but they do get some upslope stuff.

Berlin NH is the only one I can think of >5,000 people, for that part of the state. I also have to think towns like Washington NH are right there too.


Everytime I go to Whitefield I am disappointed in the snow cover. Now, about 20 minutes away is Randolph which gets a ton of snow but has a low population.

#13
Allenson

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Out of curiosity what's the base period of your 118?

Not sure exactly. I've been a co-op oberver for five years now and before me, an old fellow did it for years. Not sure how long he was at it though...

Certainly not as long as other stations, I don't think. And, I live in a snowier part of town than the aforementioned gent, so my numbers have likely pushed up the average a bit.

#14
Cold Miser

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Too bad you weren't looking to live in upstate ny. You could rent our summer house on Big Moose lake where the average snowfall is 200"+ per year. Of course you'd have to be able to snowmobile to where you were going most of the winter.

Obviously Lake effect city over there.
:snowman:

#15
MarkO

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Interesting thread!

I'm interested in how elevation and topography effect snow totals. Generally speaking, will the higher totals be upwind of the prevailing winds on hills/mountains? If so, does that mean southwest facing?

I've always wondered where the snowier towns were located in New England. I've thought towns like Stowe and Bolton Valley would be some of the snowiest.

Have friends in Cazenovia, NY. I believe they average about 120+" per year, maybe more.



#16
eekuasepinniW

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Whitefield NH might do well in the greater than 1000 category. Parts of that town are near 1500ft, but I think the majority of the town is near 1000ft. They might get shadowed from the se, but they do get some upslope stuff.

Whitefield is part of the snowdeath zone. Connect the dots from Ryegate, VT to Littleton, NH to Whitefield, NH to Lancaster, NH to Concord, VT.

#17
dryslot

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Too bad you weren't looking to live in upstate ny. You could rent our summer house on Big Moose lake where the average snowfall is 200"+ per year. Of course you'd have to be able to snowmobile to where you were going most of the winter.

Obviously Lake effect city over there.:snowman:



fake snow.........lol

#18
J.Spin

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I'm interested in how elevation and topography effect snow totals. Generally speaking, will the higher totals be upwind of the prevailing winds on hills/mountains? If so, does that mean southwest facing?

I've always wondered where the snowier towns were located in New England. I've thought towns like Stowe and Bolton Valley would be some of the snowiest.


I’m most familiar with the Central and Northern Greens, where the biggest snowfall numbers will be found along the spine in the 2,000’ – 4,000’ elevation range; essentially all locations on the spine above 3,000’ in the Northern Greens average 300”+ of snowfall per season. Then, as one drops down to elevations in the 1,500’ range and moves a few miles away from the spine in either direction, the west-facing (windward) slopes generally have higher annual snowfall totals than the east-facing (leeward) slopes. For example, I suspect that at equivalent elevations, the town of Underhill on the west side of Mt. Mansfield, receives more snowfall that the town of Stowe on the east side of Mt. Mansfield. I’m sure both places average 100”+, but I’m not sure of the exact numbers. Stowe the ski area reports an average of 333”/season up high on the mountain, and presumably 200”+ around the base at 1,500’. Powderfreak measures snow on the mountain, and lives in the town of Stowe, so hopefully he can add some more detail on the numbers.

Bolton Valley is actually a different location than the town of Bolton. Bolton Valley does have a significant year-round population (many people live there and work in the Burlington area), but it’s actually the resort village associated with the ski resort; I’d say there are a couple dozen single-family homes, a few dozen condominiums, a couple hotels, etc. They do get a lot of snow though; the average reported near the top of the ski resort at 3,150’ is 312”, and down in the village at 2,100’ they are probably in the 250” – 300” range. The actual town of Bolton is down in the Winooski Valley about 2,000’ below the resort village. The snowfall there is probably 100”+, but I’m not sure on the exact number. Our location is about 4 miles to the east of the center of Bolton near the Bolton/Waterbury town line, and I’ve recorded an average of 172.1 ± 31.5” of snowfall over the past five seasons of data collection. Though the town of Bolton is technically west of us (a bit more on the windward side of the Greens), I get the impression that they get less snow than our location, perhaps the area is shadowed or something. Powderfreak lived in Jonesville, just to the west of Bolton, so he also may be able to comment on what he thinks is going on there.


#19
HIPPYVALLEY

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That area of Maine usually has the best late season skiing in New England. If you live in Stratton (Maine) you can be right in between Saddleback and Sugarloaf. 2 of the best ski mountains in the east.
I've spent a lot of time in that area because my brother has a house in Carrabasset Valley. If you love the outdoors there is never a lack of things to do up there.

#20
dryslot

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That area of Maine usually has the best late season skiing in New England. If you live in Stratton (Maine) you can be right in between Saddleback and Sugarloaf. 2 of the best ski mountains in the east.
I've spent a lot of time in that area because my brother has a house in Carrabasset Valley. If you love the outdoors there is never a lack of things to do up there.



Sled that area, Eustis/Stratton, Back country snow depths are amazing.... :snowman:

#21
Allenson

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That area of Maine usually has the best late season skiing in New England. If you live in Stratton (Maine) you can be right in between Saddleback and Sugarloaf. 2 of the best ski mountains in the east.
I've spent a lot of time in that area because my brother has a house in Carrabasset Valley. If you love the outdoors there is never a lack of things to do up there.

Yep, great area. I lived a worked at the Loaf for a few winters in the mid/late 90s. Great skiing, snow, terrain, etc. Had a lot of fun there and despite having an empolyee pass at Sugarloaf, a buddy and I would head over the Saddleback every couple weeks for a change of pace.

#22
skierinvermont

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Sled that area, Eustis/Stratton, Back country snow depths are amazing.... :snowman:


I'm definitely planning on doing some exploring of the backcountry in that area it sounds amazing, probably one of the last places to change to rain in New England in winter.

#23
HIPPYVALLEY

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I'm definitely planning on doing some exploring of the backcountry in that area it sounds amazing, probably one of the last places to change to rain in New England in winter.


The Bigelow Range is absolutely stunning, one of the nicest hikes in the NE and one of the best kept secrets. Killer views in all directions, overlooks Flagstaff lake and has an Alpine pond (stocked!) that sits between the horns of the summits.

Chain of ponds in Eustis is also gorgeous.


Bigelow range:


Attached File  bigelows.jpg   101.45KB   1 downloads

#24
moneypitmike

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The Bigelow Range is absolutely stunning, one of the nicest hikes in the NE and one of the best kept secrets. Killer views in all directions, overlooks Flagstaff lake and has an Alpine pond (stocked!) that sits between the horns of the summits.

Chain of ponds in Eustis is also gorgeous.


Bigelow range:


Attached File  bigelows.jpg   101.45KB   1 downloads



Nice pic, Chris. We had considered buying a cabin up in Eustis a few years back--all for the snow of course. :)

#25
tamarack

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Nice pic, Chris. We had considered buying a cabin up in Eustis a few years back--all for the snow of course. :)


You'd want it to be up on Eustis Ridge. The backside view of Bigelow is at least as nice as the front - slopes a bit less abrupt but Flagstaff Lake adds interest.
Note on the lake: It's perhaps Maine's best big lake for paddling, along with no-motors-allowed Allagash lake. Because Flagstaff doesn't have much of a coldwater fishery, and still holds considerable driftwood and stumps from the (incomplete) clearing prior to the reservior flooding over 60 yr ago, the big motorboats and most of the small ones go elsewhere.

Edit:
The Bigelow Range is absolutely stunning, one of the nicest hikes in the NE and one of the best kept secrets. Killer views in all directions, overlooks Flagstaff lake and has an Alpine pond (stocked!) that sits between the horns of the summits.

All true except for the boldface, though maybe I'm Maine-spoiled when it comes to intensity of use. Bigelow gets the most recreational use of any tract managed by my agency, and the Horns Pond (formerly fishless, now stocked) campsites area is second in Maine only to Chimney Pond at Baxter for amount of visitors among hike-in destinations.
I agree about Chain-of-Ponds, too, although the trucks on Route 27 can be heard on every acre.

#26
dryslot

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I'm definitely planning on doing some exploring of the backcountry in that area it sounds amazing, probably one of the last places to change to rain in New England in winter.



Yeah, You will enjoy it, The Kennebago area is nearby, Also Oquossoc out to Bosebuck is a great area as well, There is a lot of elevation in these areas as the upsloping snows are amazing, We were riding the backcountry one day and stopped to take a leak, One of the guys that was with us who was 6'4" stepped off the trail and disappeared, We had to dig him out....... :thumbsup:

#27
dryslot

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You'd want it to be up on Eustis Ridge. The backside view of Bigelow is at least as nice as the front - slopes a bit less abrupt but Flagstaff Lake adds interest.
Note on the lake: It's perhaps Maine's best big lake for paddling, along with no-motors-allowed Allagash lake. Because Flagstaff doesn't have much of a coldwater fishery, and still holds considerable driftwood and stumps from the (incomplete) clearing prior to the reservior flooding over 60 yr ago, the big motorboats and most of the small ones go elsewhere.



Very treacherous in the winter to snowmobile on, I try to avoid it as much as possible, But its the shortest way back to stratton..

#28
HIPPYVALLEY

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Nice pic, Chris. We had considered buying a cabin up in Eustis a few years back--all for the snow of course. :)


That pic is one a friend of mine took for a tourism website she was working on and they didn't use it - lol.

#29
HIPPYVALLEY

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Here is "the horns" pond. Sits at about 3000' between the peaks. Tent platforms are right near by. I could have hung out there for a week. Short hikes to the main peaks from there.

Another tourism shot she did that was used.

Attached File  bigelow04.jpg   143.94KB   0 downloads

#30
tamarack

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Very treacherous in the winter to snowmobile on, I try to avoid it as much as possible, But its the shortest way back to stratton..


Due to drawdowns and old brook channels, Flagstaff's ice is very undependable. One of the logging/sawmilling Brochu family, a man with many decades of woods experience, lost his life there about 15 yr ago when his sled punched thru.

Do you ever ride the slower and (built with malice aforethought) more crooked Bigelow Loop trails?

#31
dryslot

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Due to drawdowns and old brook channels, Flagstaff's ice is very undependable. One of the logging/sawmilling Brochu family, a man with many decades of woods experience, lost his life there about 15 yr ago when his sled punched thru.

Do you ever ride the slower and (built with malice aforethought) more crooked Bigelow Loop trails?



No, I usually head either North or NW from Eustis as i have freinds there so i have free lodging, I usually head out towards King Of Bartlett over to Great Falls (Another nice View) to Bull dog Camps and over to Jackman, That makes for a pretty decent loop...

#32
dryslot

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Here is a view from Coburn Mtn @3,717', Its a hell of a ride to the top with the trail only wide enough for 1 sled, That day we were up there, We were in a snow squall, If you look just left of center That is Big Wood Lake over in Jackman..



Posted Image

#33
eekuasepinniW

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Here is "the horns" pond. Sits at about 3000' between the peaks. Tent platforms are right near by. I could have hung out there for a week. Short hikes to the main peaks from there.

Another tourism shot she did that was used.

Attached File  bigelow04.jpg   143.94KB   0 downloads

Awesome photo though I can practically hear the mosquitoes buzzing.

#34
dryslot

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Awesome photo though I can practically hear the mosquitoes buzzing.



They were not buzzing in my photo........ :lol:

#35
powderfreak

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I'm not sure any of those average >115 though, except South Lincoln maybe which has 1200' elevation.. I think the others might be too low. South Lincoln could be 120-125 though.

Montgomery could be up there too even though it's only at 900-1000'. And I don't know much about Underhill but it looks like most of the town is down around 800'. Ripton could be close too being at 1400' but it's south of the snow belt.



Yes we do. Check J.Spin's data for Waterbury, VT. He's not lying. He's had 200" season not too long ago at 495 feet. We get a ton of fluffy snowfall though so snowpack doesn't mirror snowfall necessarily... last year was around 145" here in town with near 200" at 1,500ft ski area base, and 320" at 3,600ft. And I personally measured all of those with one other person.

I'm not talking co-op measuring once a day but measuring upslope every 6 hours and you'll come up with a lot of snowfall. A lot of it comes in daily 1-3" snowfalls but a few biggies of upslope can help like early December's 20-incher and an 18-incher later in the season. Both from storms where other areas outside the upslope zone got very little. There's a lot of this town in the 1,000-1,800ft range and if you live in those areas you're definitely getting a lot of snow and almost daily snow in December and January.



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