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About J.Spin

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  • Location:
    Waterbury, VT
  • Interests
    Skiing, Snow, Snowboarding, Outdoors, Winter Weather, Photography

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  1. After the rains from the past few days, I was curious about how rainfall numbers were looking around region, so I checked on the CoCoRaHS data for the various New England States. In VT there are already 20 stations reporting over 6 inches of liquid for the month of June (generally in the Greens as you’d expect) whereas the next closest state was NH, with 4 stations over 6 inches, and most of the states either have 1 or 0 stations hitting that mark. It’s not necessarily an objective areal analysis, but the number of stations per state is roughly 90 or more aside from RI, so it certainly shows a trend. It really just feels like things are catching back up to average in the Greens, although I did hear Roger Hill mention this morning that there were a number of stations around here that are 20-25% ahead of average. At our site, rainfall for the month is at 6.41”, but that still leaves about an inch to go to hit the average in my CoCoRaHS data (June seems to be our wettest month here). There do appear to be some rainfall chances this week, so perhaps we’ll end up somewhere around that average.
  2. Next up in my data analysis is the chronological plot of storm snowfall totals for this past season. Moving from left to right, one area of visual note is that spike representing Winter Storm Argos around mid-November, marking the first substantial storm of the season after a run of those early season storms that often drop lesser amounts when cold air and appropriate moisture briefly meet in the proximity of our mountainous terrain. A stretch that really stands out is that period from late February into mid-March with absolutely paltry (<1”) storm totals. Average snowfall at that time of year is in the range of 1 to 2 inches per day, so that’s quite a run of poorly-producing storms. It stands out even more however by the way it’s bracketed by some of the most substantial storms of the season – Winter Storm Orson and Winter Storm Pluto on the left, and massive Winter Storm Stella on the right. With the data plotted in this manner, it really gives one the sense of how Mother Nature “loves her averages”, oscillating between big storms and a lengthy period of almost nothing in that timeframe. A period like that stands out around here because our snowfall climatology is often more even-keeled than that.
  3. Working my way through the winter’s data, I’ve created the 2016-2017 monthly snowfall plot for our site, and added it below. The visual representation certainly reveals quite the asymmetrical distribution with a heavy February/March emphasis. As mentioned earlier, those were the only months notably above average, with everything else at or below average, and January well below average.
  4. Nice tamarack, next up on my list is updating the summary table I have on my website. There were two colored areas of note in this year’s row. The first was Winter Storm Stella taking the top spot for largest storm thus far in my records. The second, which was rather surprising with the cool weather we’ve had over the past couple months, was the quick ending to the snowfall season – the last accumulating snowfall for us was on April 8th, tying the earliest ending in 2009. What I also find striking is that aberration of the previous season’s total snowfall. It stands out so ridiculously from the rest of the data, but actually, the other red values in that row are pretty out of whack as well. I don’t want to meet the season that comes anywhere near those numbers, but hopefully we won’t see something like that for a long, long time.
  5. Below I’ve posted some of the general snow data for our site from this past winter. Some highlights for snowfall were certainly getting an above average total for the first time in six seasons – that felt long overdue. The months really setting that up were February and March with 50.3” and 58.7” respectively; other than that the months were essentially at or below average, with December and January coming in with pretty lackluster snowfall. Certainly worthy of note was Winter Storm Stella, the largest storm of the season with 41.0” in total. Aside from the snowfall, there wasn’t much that made the season stand out – snowpack was well below average as determined by snow depth days. The duration of continuous snow at the stake was notably below average, as was the length of the snowfall season due to the early finish on April 8th. Season Snowfall 186.5" October Snowfall 1.1" November Snowfall 13.6" December Snowfall 34.2" January Snowfall 20.0" February Snowfall 50.3" March Snowfall 58.7" April Snowfall 8.6" May Snowfall 0.0" # of storms 55 Average snow per storm 3.4" Largest snowstorm 41.0" Max snow depth 29.5" Snow depth days 848 inch-days Earliest accumulating snowfall Oct 22 Start of continuous snowpack Dec 3 Latest accumulating snowfall Apr 8 Last day of continuous snow at stake Mar 1 Last day of continuous snow in yard Apr 16 Duration of continuous snow at stake 89 days Duration of continuous snow in yard 135 days Duration of yard snowfall season 169 days Liquid during snowfall season 26.39" Season Snow/Water Ratio 7.1 Average water content of snow 14.2% Days with trace of snowfall or greater 101
  6. It’s June, so I’ve got the May and snowfall season precipitation totals for our site below: May totals: 0.0” snow/5.23” L.E. Snowfall season totals: 186.5” snow/26.39” L.E. There was no accumulating snow at our site this May, and liquid was just about average (+0.36”) and well within one S.D. I don’t track the temperatures, but they seemed pretty nice – it was certainly cool enough to help with snow preservation. That should be it for the snowfall season, so the snow and liquid totals will likely represent what we picked up for the 2016-2017 winter season. Next I’ll start putting together my winter season summary data.
  7. Thanks PF, glad you liked it. Any recent beta on Nosedive’s coverage from your sources? I’d actually like to head to the Snowfields for turns this weekend, but it would depend on the weather or other obligations, so some Nosedive turns might be another option depending on the snow situation there.
  8. Cool, glad you guys enjoyed the report/images. There’s plenty of snow still around, so I’ll have to see if the weather cooperates for any additional visits.
  9. Some of our graduating seniors invited me on one of the ski trips they’d planned for Mt. Washington this spring, and it just happened to coincide with the tail end of the recent snowstorm that everyone’s been talking about. I actually don’t get up to Mt. Washington very often with fresh snow, since the powder and general surface conditions in the Northern Greens are typically better, and Mt. Washington is a cold and dangerous place to be during the heart of winter. In this case though, with warming temperatures it looked like we’d see enough consolidation to set up at least some safe skiing, so the trip was on. Ascending from Pinkham Notch at ~2,000’, we saw our first signs of snow at 2,650’ on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, and at around 3,400’ the snow cover was continuous enough that I was able to start skinning there and made it right up to Hermit Lake. The new foot or so of snow had certainly helped with the potential for skinning – coverage would have been somewhat less continuous on that last part of the ascent without it. In terms of ski conditions higher up in the bowl and the various chutes and gullies, as we pretty much knew going in, they actually would have been better without all the new snow. There was a nice established base of corn snow in place already, but the new stuff wouldn’t have cycled to corn yet, and warming temperatures would quickly turn it to mush. Indeed that was the case, at least in the 4,000’ to 5,000’ elevation range. Tuckerman Ravine itself was only transiently visible among the clouds when we first arrived at Hojo’s, but we had good views of Hillman’s Highway, and you could see that slide activity had already put a bunch of new, wet snow in place. The sloughs were readily visible as we shot some telephoto images from Hojo’s to investigate. The image below taken at 448 mm equiv. and cropped shows a snowboarder in the choke of Hillman’s, and to his left you can clearly see the slough of wet snow that had settled in there: Here’s a wider shot at 384 mm equiv. showing some of the snow higher up in the gully above the choke – there’s plenty of new snow visible off to climber’s left: Once in the gully itself, we found the best skiing was off course away from the dense snow that had sloughed, and optimal where skier traffic had cleared away the mushy surface snow down to the older corn snow. The bottom of the gully held a bit too much of the new snow to really get down to anything below – it was bottomless mushy snow, and folks that were lapping the gully would simply stop and ascend before they got to that. In any event, it was very cool to get out there and check out the bounty from the recent storm – the new snow definitely helped bolster things down low a bit for skinning, and we were able to ski about a third of the Sherburne Ski Trail because it had opened back up thanks to the storm. The summit snowfields looked really nice with all the new snow, and there should be some fantastic easy access skiing up there in the coming weeks as the road reopens: I’ve got some additional shots below, and more are available in my full report from the day.
  10. Yep: I was up at the mountain for a tour yesterday, and there’s still essentially continuous coverage on Nosedive. The recent weather pattern has been nice for preservation, although it’s made it a bit tougher to find clear, sunny days for turns. I headed up in the morning, since the forecast suggested that was the best weather window, but I don’t think it rained around here until well into the evening. There’s a bit less snow on Nosedive now compared to last weekend of course, but I like the consistency of the snow a lot more yesterday – it was softer but not too soft, and the turns were excellent. You can see that there’s still a long way to go with regard to the foliage line, but by the time summer actually arrives the leaves will be there: I’ve got a couple more images in my full report from yesterday.
  11. People recognized that potential on Mount Greylock, so it’s already got an epic ski run with a vertical drop over 2,000’. It’s called the Thunderbolt Trail and it’s been there since the 1930s: http://www.thunderboltskirun.com/trail.html There’s also a big race held on it every year: https://thunderboltskirunners.org/ I’ve hiked it in the off season, but skiing is clearly its main purpose because it’s maintained as a ski trail, not a hiking trail. In line with its epic nature, it’s probably the most famous ski run in the state – as someone from outside Massachusetts, it’s the only run I could actually name.
  12. And it’s actually doing it somewhat slowly with the current weather. I headed up for a tour yesterday to enjoy the snow when there was a decent break in the weather around midday, and there are still lots of options with the available coverage. The turns were nice, but I actually would have preferred the snow to even be a little bit softer. It will only get so soft without a lot of sun though. I ascended via the North Slope route, and coverage is actually just about continuous there, but it’s broken up near the top because of the plowing that’s been done on The Toll Road. I had planned to descend on something in the area where I’d gone up since it’s still an option, but I ended up simply descending via Nosedive due to the plowing. One upside to Nosedive for the descent is that’s it’s got some grooming due to skier traffic and you can some much smoother turns. The variety of weather and the associated views certainly added to the fun of the outing. I’ve added a few images from my report below:
  13. Don’t forget Memorial Day Weekend in 2013; that was another great time to get out for turns: Not that there’s really any doubt with the available data, but we’re still well within the snow season around here. I haven’t run through all my reports to check, but May snow really isn’t that infrequent.
  14. Yeah, I’m actually watching it crash out along the west slopes of the spine from my office – there’s a batch right now on Mansfield, another one on the Dewey/Clark area, and another in the Camel’s Hump/Ethan Allen/Ira Allen area. I was surprised to see that it was snow and not rain, but apparently it’s that sort of weather pattern.