J.Spin

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  1. April Totals Days with new snow: 10 Accumulating Storms: 3 Snowfall: 10.7” Liquid Equivalent: 4.35” SDD: 9.0 I’ve put together my numbers for April, and it actually came in pretty average for most parameters except for SDD, which was roughly an order of magnitude below where it usually is, due to the early warmth in March. The total liquid for this April did end up about a half inch below average, but there was an additional 1.34” that fell on the 30th and gets rolled into the May numbers. That creates a stretch of close to 6” in a month though, which is a decent run of liquid.
  2. The way things have been going recently really is how Mother Nature runs a spring in the mountains of NNE. There are typically interludes of mild weather, but the mountains getting rounds of snow is perfectly normal The actual “warm” season doesn’t start until roughly Memorial Day or, in some years, some point in June if the spring storm pattern lingers a bit longer. That’s why the trees aren’t really leafed out until then, why people don’t plant their gardens until then, etc. Naturally things can be a little earlier in parts of NNE outside the mountain areas and elevations, but banking on real warmth or a warm “season” until Memorial Day or so is not quite in line with the climate around here.
  3. A few images from heading out on yesterday’s ski tour:
  4. This morning I hit the mountain for a ski tour to check out the new snow, so I can pass along some snow observations. The visible snow line here in the Winooski Valley reached down to around 1,000’, but it varied a bit with aspect, so that made for some neat views. Seeing the accumulations on the Bolton Valley Main Base Webcam, I’d planned on a quick tour over in the Wilderness area, but once I was over there out of the wind, I saw that the accumulations were solid enough to warrant a more extended tour into the higher elevations. Temperatures were below freezing from probably 1,000’-1,500’ on up, so the new snow was dense, but dry. There was a notable jump in accumulations just above 2,000’ or so as the profile below shows. Above that though, there wasn’t a lot of increase, so presumably the snow line crashed down to that ~2,000’+ level pretty quickly without spending a lot of time at 3,000’+. Here’s the accumulations profile observed on this morning’s outing: 340’: 0” 500’: 0” 900’: T 1,000’: T 1,200’: 1-2” 1,500’: 2-3” 2,000’: 3-4’ 2,250’: 5-6” 2,500’: ~6” 2,800’: ~6-7” 3,100’: ~7” As mentioned, the snow was dense but dry, so it skied fairly well. On 115 mm fat skis I was typically sinking in a couple of inches, and there was a surfy consistency to the setup that really let you have some fun and smear your powder turns easily if you wanted. The snow provided plenty of cushion for low to low/moderate-angle terrain, and up above 2,800’ or so, old snow and snow bridges were still in place, so that made any water bars less of an issue. There were a few folks out and about in the Village, but out on the mountain itself it was pretty quiet. All I saw was a fox that ran in front of me, and a guy on a fat bike up near the summit. I was surprised to see him up at that point because there was a half foot of snow, and those things are total dogs with respect to climbing, so I’m sure he’d put in plenty of work. There were some packed areas of snow due to resort operations traffic and wind scouring, so I’m guessing he made good use of that. I’ll put together some images from today when I get a chance.
  5. Event totals: 0.1” Snow/2.81” L.E. Snow started to mix into the precipitation last night, but it wasn’t until this morning that it started to accumulate down here in the valley. We’re still above freezing down at this elevation, so we’re just getting transient accumulations at this point. Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 0.1 inches New Liquid: Trace Temperature: 34.5 F Sky: Light Snow (1-5 mm flakes) Snow at the stake: Trace
  6. Event totals: 0.1” Snow/0.11” L.E. As the models suggested, some snow moved into the area with the colder temperatures on the back side of the current system. Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 0.1 inches New Liquid: Trace Temperature: 32.4 F Sky: Light Snow (1 to 2 mm flakes) Snow at the stake: Trace
  7. Right on point, this latest storm pushed our site past 160” of snow on the season, ensuring at least an average result for that parameter. Your comment follows up what we were saying back at the beginning of March when there were still two months of winter to go. Per our conversation in the thread the other day, winter in the mountains of NNE is generally November through April, with October and May as fringe months, so the annual snowfall averages actually represent snowfall spread out over that six to eight-month period. People can try to shove everything into just a few months if they want, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. Folks will often write off the early and late snows as some sort of “stat padding”, but that doesn’t really make any sense in the context of actual record keeping. It’s not as if the recent skiing during these spring storm cycles has been on some sort of phantom snow that doesn’t actually exist; the only “padding” going on is these dense April snows keeping our skis off the ground.
  8. Since daylight lingers so long into the evening now, I stopped off at Bolton on the way home from work yesterday for a ski tour. I hadn’t had the time to get out on Wednesday, but it kept snowing much of the day on Thursday as well, so this gave me the chance to see how all the snow had accumulated from this most recent April storm. Valley temperatures had edged a bit above freezing in the afternoon, but on the mountain the temperatures were down in the 20s F. Accumulations from this storm went right down to the lowest valleys, and even the broad, low valleys down near sea level like the Champlain Valley had accumulations that stuck around. At the base of the Bolton Valley Access Road at ~340’ there were a couple inches of accumulation, and naturally, the depths just went up from there. The wind had kicked up by yesterday afternoon on the back side of the system, and that really pushed the snow around a lot, but using the typical calmer, unaffected spots, here’s the accumulations profile I observed on yesterday’s outing: 340’: 2” 500’: 2-3” 1,000’: 3-4” 1,500’: 5-6” 2,000’: 8-10” 2,500’: 10-12” 3,000’: ~12” The snow from this storm was certainly not as dense as what last week’s storm delivered, but the initial accumulations were certainly substantial enough to set up a good base, and then in typical Northern Greens style, the upslope came in after to boost the depth and polish things off. Overall, the snow put down by this storm cycle was right side up, just as PF noted in his post. We picked up rough ¾” of liquid equivalent at our site, and I’d say they’d had at least 1” of liquid in the snow on the mountain. So, while not the 2”+ of liquid that some areas saw in the last storm, this snow offered plenty of substance for solid turns on most terrain, and it was easily bottomless on moderate-angle pitches. There was also still some snow left from the previous storm in spots, so that bolstered things up a bit. Anyway, turns were great with the right-side-up deposition, with midwinter consistency all the way down to the Village areas at ~2,000’ yesterday afternoon. I didn’t tour down to 1,500’, but even there at the base of Timberline the snow was still powder as of early evening. A few shots from yesterday’s tour:
  9. Event totals: 8.4” Snow/0.76” L.E. We’ve had some additional snow showers this evening, but the above totals should be it for this storm unless the activity picks up. Details from the 6:00 P.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 1.6 inches New Liquid: 0.10 inches Snow/Water Ratio: 16.0 Snow Density: 6.3% H2O Temperature: 34.9 F Sky: Cloudy Snow at the stake: 4.0 inches
  10. Yeah, I just checked our webcam and I see that snowfall has been picking up at our site as well.
  11. There seemed to be a bit of a lull in the snowfall this morning because we even had a few peeks of blue sky at our site, but perhaps there will be a fourth round today as the ULL comes through. Some models certainly show a resurgence in the snowfall this afternoon: Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Burlington VT 758 AM EDT Thu Apr 22 2021 NEAR TERM /THROUGH FRIDAY/... As of 740 AM EDT Thursday...Snow showers will continue through much of the day today as upper level low pushes across the region. Will also have strong gusty northwesterly winds due to increased pressure gradient as low which brought rain and snow to the region yesterday continues to make its way northeastward from Northern Maine into the Canadian Maritimes. There’s certainly still moisture pushing in on the radar with that classic NW look:
  12. Event totals: 6.8” Snow/0.66” L.E. Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 2.2 inches New Liquid: 0.07 inches Snow/Water Ratio: 31.4 Snow Density: 3.2% H2O Temperature: 28.2 F Sky: Flurries Snow at the stake: 5.0 inches
  13. Event totals: 4.6” Snow/0.59” L.E. Details from the 12:00 A.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 1.8 inches New Liquid: 0.07 inches Snow/Water Ratio: 25.7 Snow Density: 3.9% H2O Temperature: 27.9 F Sky: Light Snow (2-8 mm flakes) Snow at the stake: 3.0 inches
  14. Event totals: 2.8” Snow/0.52” L.E. We picked up an additional 0.2” of snow today in the 6:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. period, and then the most recent information from the 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. period is below: Details from the 6:00 P.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 1.6 inches New Liquid: 0.16 inches Snow/Water Ratio: 10.0 Snow Density: 10.0% H2O Temperature: 30.9 F Sky: Light Snow (2-15 mm flakes) Snow at the stake: 2.0 inches
  15. I’m here at work in BTV, and indeed there’s been some 1”/hr snowfall at times with this second round of the system. It had backed off a little from that heaviest period, but it’s probably back up close to 1”/hr again with a bit more wind now. Accumulation here on the UVM campus looks like a couple of inches. I guess this system could be broken up into three parts if there ends up being an upslope portion on the backside as well.
  16. Event totals: 1.0” Snow/0.34” L.E. Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations: New Snow: 1.0 inches New Liquid: 0.28 inches Snow/Water Ratio: 3.6 Snow Density: 28.0% H2O Temperature: 32.7 F Sky: Snow (2-10 mm flakes) Snow at the stake: 1.0 inches
  17. I saw that some Winter Weather Advisories had gone up yesterday in NNY, but the BTV NWS has now extended them into NVT as well. The latest alert and expected snowfall maps are below.
  18. It could, but winter in the mountains of NNE is generally November through April, with October and May as fringe months, so our annual snowfall averages actually represent snowfall spread out over that six to eight-month period. We’ve had fairly wintry versions of all eight of those months, but I’ve never seen it go wire-to-wire wintry for eight months in a row, or even six months in a row. Despite the somewhat greater reliability of winter weather up here, there’s still a ton of variability, and there are going to be large swings in temperatures and gaps in winter. Also, although things do start to slow down toward the end of March at the resorts, April is when you really start to get those deserted ski areas with less and less competition for the powder. So it’s definitely nice when Mother Nature keeps something in reserve for April.
  19. So, are we talking two in the books now?
  20. Since the snow totals from our latest storm were a bit higher to the south of our area, my wife and I decided to mix things up a little and head down to Pico for some turns today. The accumulating snow levels for this storm in our part of the Winooski Valley were generally around 1,000’ or so, and you could tell that the snow line was a bit lower as you headed south. The lowest elevations of the White River Valley were still generally devoid of snow though. Pico certainly got a nice shot of snow from this system. With temperatures above freezing at around 2,000’ at the base, you could tell that there had been a bit of melting and consolidation down at that elevation. Settled new snow depths this morning were generally in the 9-12” range. There were about 40 to 50 cars in the main parking lot this morning, and some were from people in the lodging there at the base, but many were also from folks who were there for some skiing. The new snow depth increased quite quickly on the bottom half of the mountain, and at times it felt like every 100’ of vertical we’d ascend we’d find another inch of depth. It wasn’t quite that quick, but by the time we’d hit the 3,000’ elevation range the depth was in the 15-17” range. The snow depth didn’t increase nearly as quickly on the upper half of the mountain, and it topped out around 18” up around 4,000’. Here’s the rough snow depth profile with respect to elevation: 2,000’: 9-12” 3,000’: 15-17” 4,000’: 18” As the elevation profile data suggest, you’re essentially looking at a foot and a half of new snow on the upper half of the mountain there – and this is not fluff. There’s got to be at least 2 inches of liquid equivalent in that new snow, so you’re talking about a full resurfacing up there (or in places that didn’t have existing snowpack, a full recovering). Up on the mountain it also snowed during the entire time we were out on our tour from mid-morning onward. The snowfall was generally light in intensity, but increased with elevation and was borderline moderate at times up near the 4,000’ level. You could see that the new snow, and/or other recent snow from the later part of the storm was helping to take a bit of the density out of the topmost layer of snow up high. The best turns were unquestionably up in the 3,500’ to 4,000’ elevation range, where you had a few inches of drier snow atop the rest of what the storm left. I’d say that may have been where the freezing line was located at that point, so you had dense, but dry powder for the top few to several inches. Below that, there was an increasing density gradient, but it went pretty quickly to snow that was 10%+ H2O in the vein of typical winter Sierra Cement/Cascade Concrete. It was still quite skiable though, and you’d certainly sink in several inches, so it wasn’t that super dense stuff that has your just riding on the surface. All told though, since there’s a foot and a half of that snow, you’ve got a bomber subsurface in place. We spoke with a guy who told us that the 49er and Pike were the routes with the best snowmaking base before this storm, so they were good options in terms of coverage, but it really didn’t matter. You could pretty much ski anything you wanted with 2+ inches of liquid equivalent in place. There were water bars to watch out for the lower you went, but even all the way back down to the base elevations, you could ski just about anything, whether it had existing base or not. The challenging part was handling the denser/wetter snow down low, and fat skis or a snowboard were unquestionably your tool of choice. Width was the best bet in general for the most fun riding, but especially down low where temperatures were above freezing and the snow was getting a bit wetter. For the best quality turns today, laps on the upper half of the mountain would have been a good bet if you had the time, but experienced skiers and riders would be able to handle the lower mountain conditions. We skied the bottom half of the mountain with a couple of older guys on fat Telemark gear like us, and it was well past manageable, the turns were definitely fun even in that wetter snow. As I mentioned, it was snowing most of the time above the base elevations, and to further reduce the visibility we were often well up in the clouds on the upper mountain. This of course made the ski photography a fun challenge up high, but I’ve got some of the images from today below:
  21. I got a text alert that we’ve been put under a Winter Weather Advisory, and various Winter Storm Warnings have been put up throughout the area as well. Updated BTV NWS maps are below:
  22. I’ve posted the latest BTV NWS maps below for the storm that is expected to affect the area toward the end of the week. Winter Storm Watches extend up from SVT into eastern Addison County. For the projected accumulations map they’ve got 8-12” accumulations along the spine up into Lamoille County, with a small area of 12-18” shading east of Rutland in what is probably the Killington area. Down at the elevation of our site, there’s not too much accumulation expected, with the point forecast here suggesting up to an inch of accumulation.
  23. I’ve seen others like Will also mentioning the 2015-2016 season, and here’s the comparison I mentioned in my post above. While the 2015-2016 snowpack was higher at this point in the spring, it’s incredible how low it remained for such an extended period – to think of the Mansfield snowpack never reaching even 40” during the winter season is just amazing. This season has been a low snowpack one, but the fact that the depth at the stake still reached almost 60” and was roughly double the 2015-2016 snowpack at points near the heart of the ski season sort of puts it in perspective.
  24. I think in general you’d see a Mansfield snowpack plot like that and think it must have been a pretty poor ski season, not a halfway decent one, but it’s hard to get all those nuances out of just the snow depth unless there are some obvious massive meltdowns. All it took for a bit of perspective though was to superimpose it over the 2015-2016 snowpack plot – that plot is substantially lower than the current one for almost the entirety of the season except for the spring melt off happening now. The skiing the past few days has been great, and I guess we sort of lose perspective in how we can often be battling marginal temperatures and cloud cover to even get these nice warm spring days in April. We’ll certainly take them when we can get them. I headed up to Bolton on Friday afternoon for some turns because the weather was so nice. I wanted to take a run on Hard Luck since I knew the snow there was fairly deep and probably just about continuous to make for a nice steep run. It’s funny, but Spillway, which is a usual the big spring holdout with snow in terms of steep terrain on the main mountain, isn’t really an option at this point. Mother Nature covered it up enough on her own this season that I guess the resort decided to save the money and skip the snowmaking there. Hard Luck did look good, but I was a little too tight on time to fit it in my tour, so I ended up skiing some moderate terrain, but it made for a nice run. On Saturday I headed to Stowe to go for a tour on Spruce Peak, and again the weather was simply sunny and fabulous. I hadn’t been to the resort in a while since we didn’t have our school’s ski program this season due to COVID-19, so I poked around the Spruce Peak Village for a bit first. There’s a huge new building going up where the ski patrol building was at the base of the Sunny Spruce Quad, so that’s a big addition. I’m not sure what’s going to be going in there, or if it’s more lodging? As usual, the crowd of folks earning turns was in the MMSC lot, and I found about a dozen cars or so there and ran into a friend of the family who was there skiing with some of her friends. You almost can’t help but run into someone you know on these days. All I can say is that Main Street delivered what were unquestionably the best turns of the weekend, and probably the best corn snow I’ve skied the entire spring season so far. I’m not sure what it is about Main Street, but year after year after year, it just seems to deliver superior corn snow. Maybe it’s because it faces south and really starts its corn snow cycling early, or maybe it’s because they blow that massive amount of dense snow for the racers, or maybe it’s because it gets so much less traffic than the trails on Mansfield. Maybe it’s a combination of all these factors, but it just delivered ridiculously smooth, perfect peel-away corn snow turns when I was there. The snow seems pretty deep, and it’s definitely worth more trips while that snow is around. On Sunday I headed back to Bolton to catch that run on Hard Luck that I’d missed on Friday. Temperatures were definitely a bit cooler than Saturday, with more clouds around, but it was still plenty warm to keep the snow soft. Hard Luck is nearly continuous except for a small area near the top, but from there on down it has solid coverage that runs right into Sherman’s. There’s still top-to-bottom coverage on the main mountain via the usual Sherman’s route to Beech Seal, but it’s getting close to a gap near the middle of Beech Seal. That won’t be continuous through next weekend with the reasonably warm temperatures in the forecast though. Some pictures from this weekend’s time out there on the snow: