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wxeyeNH

NNE Cold Season Thread

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That Stowe policy is the COVID-19 policy.  Uphill was fair game for 3 weeks until the huge crowds caused the Dept of Public Safety in the town of Stowe pressured the resort to close access.  The parking lots are gated and locked now with Stowe Police electronic sign warning you by Stowe Mountain Lodge as you come up 108.  

We lost uphill access the same Saturday that Bolton closed theirs due to high traffic (I think they announced it on social media).  Smuggs followed shortly after that and then MRG and Sugarbush issued a joint closure of all uphill due to parking lot crowding.  

In Stowe, that final March weekend it was sunny and Stowe Police documented several hundred cars there (it was busier than most April days the resort is open, lol) along with tailgate parties.  Apparently it put them in an uncomfortable position as the State was advising law enforcement to disperse any gathering of cars not at essential businesses.  

Recreation apparently is supposed to be from your house or at the most within 10 miles of your home and they were seeing like 30-40% seemed to be from out of state.

This is the normal Stowe policy and there were signs out stating this before it got too much attention from the town... which this is how uphill should be: your decision and you own all risk if you go up.  We enjoyed 3 weeks of it before getting shut down.

B42AE1BA-EEE4-4A3F-AF5D-E99599BB015D.jpeg.827286610a969a1c29746c4d79353b82.jpeg

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15 hours ago, powderfreak said:

That Stowe policy is the COVID-19 policy.  Uphill was fair game for 3 weeks until the huge crowds caused the Dept of Public Safety in the town of Stowe pressured the resort to close access.  The parking lots are gated and locked now with Stowe Police electronic sign warning you by Stowe Mountain Lodge as you come up 108.  

We lost uphill access the same Saturday that Bolton closed theirs due to high traffic (I think they announced it on social media).  Smuggs followed shortly after that and then MRG and Sugarbush issued a joint closure of all uphill due to parking lot crowding.  

In Stowe, that final March weekend it was sunny and Stowe Police documented several hundred cars there (it was busier than most April days the resort is open, lol) along with tailgate parties.  Apparently it put them in an uncomfortable position as the State was advising law enforcement to disperse any gathering of cars not at essential businesses.  

Recreation apparently is supposed to be from your house or at the most within 10 miles of your home and they were seeing like 30-40% seemed to be from out of state.

This is the normal Stowe policy and there were signs out stating this before it got too much attention from the town... which this is how uphill should be: your decision and you own all risk if you go up.  We enjoyed 3 weeks of it before getting shut down.

B42AE1BA-EEE4-4A3F-AF5D-E99599BB015D.jpeg.827286610a969a1c29746c4d79353b82.jpeg

Thanks for the updates PF, I can see where the confusion came from.  It looks like this is a development that has arisen in the past week?  I’m guessing last weekend (April 4th) was about the time this went into effect?  We’d actually heard about Stowe and Smugg’s closing all access at some point because of too many people congregating and potentially ruining social distancing measures, but I had no idea it was so extreme.  My wife and I were talking about the several hundred cars you mentioned, and if you start thinking about the average number of people per vehicle and doing the math, the numbers get large quite quickly.  Knowing the typical scene in the Stowe parking lot on big spring weekends, I can absolutely understand the concern.

As you can imagine, we haven’t seen anything like that up at Bolton.  I checked back in my reports from roughly the past month, and I did note a couple dozen cars when we were out during Winter Storm Quincy back on the 24th.  That’s not really atypical (and some of the cars in the upper lot are from people who live in the village), so I didn’t give it much thought.  I don’t really follow social media like Facebook or Twitter, but taking a look now, there’s nothing new on the Bolton Valley Twitter since March 27th, and I don’t see anything on their Facebook page (not that one can find anything on Facebook anyway since every page I look at there seems to be such an organizational disaster).

It’s interesting, because aside from you bringing this up, I’m not sure where I would have learned about this update to the actual policy.  On the Bolton Valley website, there’s the initial announcement of the suspension of winter operations on March 15th, and then if you click down all the way into the detailed snow report you get the information: “Bolton Valley is closed for the winter season. This includes resort wide operations, services and our designated uphill routes and backcountry terrain - it is all closed at this time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”, which is from March 25th.  Indeed, they indicate that the resort is closed, but to us it read just like the typical statement letting you know that all the resort facilities are officially closed, so there’s no ski patrol, services, use at your own risk etc.

It’s too bad, because ski touring is obviously a great way to get needed exercise and stay well away from others in the interest of social distancing, but if indeed people congregating is the issue that they’re seeing, then we should honor that goal.  We’re obviously well within any 10-mile limit for recreation (we’re just a few miles as the crow flies or by road).  It’s just a bit weird that it’s OK to say, ride my bike, from my house, up to the resort, on the road, but to then hop on my skis and spread out further onto thousands of acres of their backcountry terrain is discouraged.

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On 4/12/2020 at 11:05 AM, J.Spin said:

Thanks for the updates PF, I can see where the confusion came from.  It looks like this is a development that has arisen in the past week?  I’m guessing last weekend (April 4th) was about the time this went into effect?  We’d actually heard about Stowe and Smugg’s closing all access at some point because of too many people congregating and potentially ruining social distancing measures, but I had no idea it was so extreme.  My wife and I were talking about the several hundred cars you mentioned, and if you start thinking about the average number of people per vehicle and doing the math, the numbers get large quite quickly.  Knowing the typical scene in the Stowe parking lot on big spring weekends, I can absolutely understand the concern.

As you can imagine, we haven’t seen anything like that up at Bolton.  I checked back in my reports from roughly the past month, and I did note a couple dozen cars when we were out during Winter Storm Quincy back on the 24th.  That’s not really atypical (and some of the cars in the upper lot are from people who live in the village), so I didn’t give it much thought.  I don’t really follow social media like Facebook or Twitter, but taking a look now, there’s nothing new on the Bolton Valley Twitter since March 27th, and I don’t see anything on their Facebook page (not that one can find anything on Facebook anyway since every page I look at there seems to be such an organizational disaster).

It’s interesting, because aside from you bringing this up, I’m not sure where I would have learned about this update to the actual policy.  On the Bolton Valley website, there’s the initial announcement of the suspension of winter operations on March 15th, and then if you click down all the way into the detailed snow report you get the information: “Bolton Valley is closed for the winter season. This includes resort wide operations, services and our designated uphill routes and backcountry terrain - it is all closed at this time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”, which is from March 25th.  Indeed, they indicate that the resort is closed, but to us it read just like the typical statement letting you know that all the resort facilities are officially closed, so there’s no ski patrol, services, use at your own risk etc.

It’s too bad, because ski touring is obviously a great way to get needed exercise and stay well away from others in the interest of social distancing, but if indeed people congregating is the issue that they’re seeing, then we should honor that goal.  We’re obviously well within any 10-mile limit for recreation (we’re just a few miles as the crow flies or by road).  It’s just a bit weird that it’s OK to say, ride my bike, from my house, up to the resort, on the road, but to then hop on my skis and spread out further onto thousands of acres of their backcountry terrain is discouraged.

I completely agree with you fully, as I had been skinning daily but do to my job in social media and snow reporting for the mountain, I wasn't posting about any of my adventures.  I didn't want to lure anyone else to the mountain through "stoke" so I thought it was a good balance of skinning/skiing on your own without promoting it to others.

However, it just became too much at Stowe.  Jay Peak was the first to barricade their lots, posting photos of those jersey barriers blocking the Stateside parking lots, and I won't lie, I thought it was a bit extreme.  But then after several weekends of watching it happen at Stowe it was easy to see that this just wasn't going to fly.  I mean they cancelled the school year and most of the town is unemployed right now, they are obviously serious enough that they aren't going to let weekend tailgate parties go on. 

I think it was a couple weeks ago, SkiVermont put something out saying All Uphill Access at All Vermont Areas was now closed, so that's how I found out about Bolton.  From what I heard from folks working there, it was the same sunny Saturday that pushed Stowe over the edge.  It's a shame that one sunny day can do it, but it sounds like Bolton isn't enforcing it so I"m tempted to head up there for some turns.... though it's outside my 10 mile bubble (at least by driving, as the crow flies it might be close, lol).

I obviously can't skin at Stowe as I don't want to get seen out there as I'm the one who recorded the uphill hotline and snow phone messages asking the Stowe Family to respect the closure for the time being.  I'm still hopeful that we will get back to uphill here in a couple weeks as I think the town and ski area just wanted to break the cycle and get people to not travel to Stowe to hike.  Once it gets later in the season and things become more patchy, less inviting, I think it'll relax.

The shame was that it was the first time I thought Stowe really got the uphill policy "right".... just proceed at your own risk, this point is where you make the decision to continue or not (like a western backcountry gate), and if you are ok assuming all risk, enjoy the hike.

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

I completely agree with you fully, as I had been skinning daily but do to my job in social media and snow reporting for the mountain, I wasn't posting about any of my adventures.  I didn't want to lure anyone else to the mountain through "stoke" so I thought it was a good balance of skinning/skiing on your own without promoting it to others.

However, it just became too much at Stowe.  Jay Peak was the first to barricade their lots, posting photos of those jersey barriers blocking the Stateside parking lots, and I won't lie, I thought it was a bit extreme.  But then after several weekends of watching it happen at Stowe it was easy to see that this just wasn't going to fly.  I mean they cancelled the school year and most of the town is unemployed right now, they are obviously serious enough that they aren't going to let weekend tailgate parties go on. 

I think it was a couple weeks ago, SkiVermont put something out saying All Uphill Access at All Vermont Areas was now closed, so that's how I found out about Bolton.  From what I heard from folks working there, it was the same sunny Saturday that pushed Stowe over the edge.  It's a shame that one sunny day can do it, but it sounds like Bolton isn't enforcing it so I"m tempted to head up there for some turns.... though it's outside my 10 mile bubble (at least by driving, as the crow flies it might be close, lol).

I obviously can't skin at Stowe as I don't want to get seen out there as I'm the one who recorded the uphill hotline and snow phone messages asking the Stowe Family to respect the closure for the time being.  I'm still hopeful that we will get back to uphill here in a couple weeks as I think the town and ski area just wanted to break the cycle and get people to not travel to Stowe to hike.  Once it gets later in the season and things become more patchy, less inviting, I think it'll relax.

The shame was that it was the first time I thought Stowe really got the uphill policy "right".... just proceed at your own risk, this point is where you make the decision to continue or not (like a western backcountry gate), and if you are ok assuming all risk, enjoy the hike.

Head east and find some Hunger Mt. woods turns. 

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The radar image really tells the story of today's weather, with the popcorn/cellular/convective nature of the precipitation.  We’ll have a period of sun, the clouds blast in and we’ll get some snow accumulation, then the snow will melt back and the process will repeat again and again.  You can even see some of the cells develop out of nowhere just to the west of the spine before they hit us:

16APR20A.gif

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A sign of the Spring, after a second work day, yard at lake is ready for Memorial Day. Literally, two weeks before I can ever remember the place cleaned up which is probably a function of available time and weather. Bugs were out today , not last weekend. An unscientific survey on RT. 3 Tilton at 130-2PM, only 1 in 25 cars had out of state plates.

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Event totals: 0.9” Snow/0.35” L.E.

 

We picked up a round of accumulation midday yesterday as the heaviest precipitation came through with the primary front, and then we had additional rounds yesterday evening and overnight as the secondary front has been pushing through the area.

 

Details from the 6:00 A.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.6 inches

New Liquid: 0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 20.0

Snow Density: 5.0% H2O

Temperature: 28.0 F

Sky:  Light Snow (2 to 4 mm flakes)

Snow at the stake: 0.5 inches

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Backyard scenes.... almost noon in late April.

Mid-20s and perfect fluffy snow growth like its Currier and Ives season. 

Even the rooftops are bare because the dry powder is getting windswept off it.  Fun little weather day.

April_22.jpg.979e49a5cd6c5cf7943b938300c57e2a.jpg

2L8A5028_edited-1-1.jpg.4e2b9a8d1149a3ef35433ab8efd77439.jpg

 
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Flow is definitely pretty unblocked... seems to be extending quite a bit downwind of the Spine.

You can see this where the radar can "see" through the Winooski River Gap and I-89...showing good echoes all the way into Montpelier area.

April_22_12pm.gif.feefc8d5f293c9e3c54f53f759917614.gif

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

JSpin, snow machine switched to on. 

3/4ths of an inch to maybe an inch now at 11am. 

B8BC4A23-B9C5-47BB-AE1F-81BED7128F0E.gif.603cb562f63cf72e94e5925d173238aa.gif

Yeah, we had some steady snow with big flakes for a while there PF, and when I checked on the snowfall up above 3,000 on the Bolton Vista Peak Webcam, it was really impressive – visibility was down to one tower at times.

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Event totals: 1.6” Snow/0.37” L.E.

 

Details from the 12:00 P.M. Waterbury observations:

New Snow: 0.7 inches

New Liquid: 0.02 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 35.0

Snow Density: 2.9% H2O

Temperature: 33.8 F

Sky:  Flurries

Snow at the stake: 1.0 inches

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Mid-20s and perfect fluffy snow growth like its Currier and Ives season. 

The data concur – 6:00 A.M. observations were 5% H2O and 12:00 P.M. observations were around 3% H2O.

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23 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

The data concur – 6:00 A.M. observations were 5% H2O and 12:00 P.M. observations were around 3% H2O.

Yeah I posted this in the other thread, but you know where this is... by the corn maze on Mtn Road... that field with the first great view of Mansfield.  Judging from my car odometer, it was two tenths a mile to that road the house is on.

The snow growth is so great that these massive flakes are very efficient at reducing visibility... this is about 1/4 mile +SN.

Crazy to get this type of snowfall with the radar echoes in clear air mode.  Interesting note, the dark soil of the freshly turned farmer field was really struggling to accumulate despite the snowfall.  Sun angle is still there behind this stuff.

2L8A5035_edited-2-1.jpg.906d7b6091f6a279fb130a57d8c58fb9.jpg

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Went for a walk up into the Notch on the closed RT 108.... same road I live off of, just in a totally different world, ha.

Snow on the road started right at 1,500ft but what was interesting is the snow at that elevation was only in the bottom of the valley with slopes on both sides fairly snow free for several hundred vertical feet.  Can tell the cold pools in the bottom of the valley where the road is and leads to longer preservation. 

Once up a little higher the snow was in the valley around the road and on the north facing slopes.  South facing slopes are burned out by sun up to like 3,000ft.

The other cool part was the absolute thunderous crashes of ice falling off the Notch walls.  It was crazy.  Every few minutes you'd hear another loud boom and crash echoing off the walls.  Sunshine and 50F temps were doing a number on the ice that had formed during the past stretch of cold/snowy weather.  I've got a video of the sound but can't post it, too big.  It was enough to scare the dog at times.  Extremely loud. 

At one point higher on the road we actually saw ice chunks about the size of bowling balls ripping through the woods all the way to the road.  The nose was pretty eerie.  Larger chunks would die pretty quickly on impact but then these bowling balls of blue ice would skip down the hillside towards the road.  Some of the larger chunks that would break off on the south side (not pictured) were refrigerator-sized, it that would shatter on impact into a lot of small rocks of ice. 

95146005_10104143499610430_4468001989233

2L8A5108_edited-2-2.jpg.a249eed8a591d816366b70ae0292c067.jpg

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The Sugarloaf webcams went on today - they have only had the base cam on continuously. Still wall to wall on mountain. The cam at top of Cannon that looks out onto Franconia Ridge showing lots of snow and ice.

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Reached 60!  First time this year, so now every Maine April (1973 on) has reached that mark on my thermometer.  Gorgeous day heading into an "interesting" period.

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I haven’t seen much discussion in here yet, but I got a text message yesterday afternoon that we’ve been put under a Winter Weather Advisory in association with this next storm.  The focus for the advisory appears to be for elevations above 1,000’ since they’re not expecting too much down here in the valley bottoms.  The current BTV NWS advisory and projected accumulations maps are below:

26APR20A.jpg

26APR20B.jpg

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21 minutes ago, STILL N OF PIKE said:

J spin looking forward to any Bolton totals . My guess is nada till you go above 1500’ but big difference at 2.5k

I had about an inch at 1250'

IMG_1756.jpg

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2 hours ago, STILL N OF PIKE said:

J spin looking forward to any Bolton totals . My guess is nada till you go above 1500’ but big difference at 2.5k

It looks like I’ll be a bit too busy most of the day today to head up, but perhaps I’ll get a chance to check things out after in the late afternoon after my last meeting.

From the BV web cams, I can see what looks like an inch or two at 2,100’, and maybe a couple more at 3,150’?

PF did alert me to the fact that the resort reportedly closed to ski touring earlier this month, so once we learned about that we’ve been trying to honor it for the past couple of weeks during the height of the pandemic around here, even if Bolton isn’t strictly enforcing it as far as we know.  We appear to be past our peak of infections around here, and indeed the governor is beginning to relax outdoor restrictions for businesses as of today:

Expanding on Addendum 10, outdoor businesses, construction operations and recreation maintenance work may operate with a maximum of five total workers per location. (Effective April 27).

https://governor.vermont.gov/press-release/new-order-governor-phil-scott-continues-phased-re-opening-expands-health-safety

If restrictions are at that level for groups of five nonessential workers outdoors, one would think that ski touring should be acceptable for locals (not that it ever needed to be stopped in and of itself as recreation aside from issues of overcrowding at base areas).

My wife and I were talking about the ski areas closing access the other day, and she was wondering when they would allow access again.  I told her that realistically, they’re never likely to make an announcement on that.  Out of season touring is really more of something that’s at your own risk and an activity the resorts that allow it sort of “tolerate” vs. “support” from what I’ve seen.

I did just see a guy skinning right past the base area camera though as he headed out on a tour, and the governor’s announcement is clearly a sign that the state is beginning to relax outdoor restrictions.  The general tenor there is that we can probably start picking up some of those outdoor activities that we’d been refraining from, especially for locals in the 10-mile distance window PF mentioned.

 

 

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Last night I received about 1/4" to 1/2" of snow.  I'll go with the 1/4"   that puts me at 76.25" for the 2019/20 snow season.  My guess is this about average for me.  It seemed like I had less since there were many more frequent thaws between snowfalls.  Many times this season it seemed the rain/snow line was just south of me.  I am sure Concord NH had much less and it's only 35 to 40 miles south.

Time for a quick greenup.  Forest canopy is 100% bare and within a month from now will be in full leaf.  Spring and falls seem short up here as compared to when I lived in Baltimore and then Boston.  That makes sense as you move poleward on the planet as daylight increases and decreases much faster than periods further south.

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