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wxeyeNH

NNE Cold Season Thread 2020-2021

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What a delightful week, it's just unreal what a difference a week makes in the nickel and dime world after 1 synoptic with NO WIND!  I put my xmas tree on the deck

 

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5 hours ago, PhineasC said:

Black Mountain is one I want to check out. It seems to have a reputation here as a "locals only" kind of mountain. Very few amenities and not much maintenance. That's no problem for us, as long as the snow is solid and the runs are nice. We are not really lodge lizards, especially this year. That stuff is not important to us.

My neighborhood! I'm less than a mile up the road from the Black Mountain base area. I absolutely love the vibe at Black; you can't get more of a quintessential "Mom and Pop" New England ski hill than Black Mountain. It is, however, very tiny...so I would check it out more for the character than the variety of terrain. They really cater to the uphill crowd, so you'll see quite a few people skinning there (probably including myself) compared to other mountains, but in general the place almost always seems empty.

Black Mountain has southern exposure and a base elevation near 1200' so I find it is a really good spot on the bitter cold days when it's sub-zero at places like Wildcat, Bretton Woods and Cannon. It is also downslope of Mount Washington, which means it gets way more sun than neighboring ski areas to the west but also takes a hit in the snowfall department as we have seen this year. I saw an old advertisement from like the 1940s that said, "Ski Black Mountain. Ski in the Sun" and it definitely appears to ring true more often than not. Cozy little place.

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The NAM has been consistently painting a strip of enhanced QPF in parts of Grafton and Carroll Counties this evening...sometime in the 21z-03z tmeframe. Seems to be a squall signal with the passing arctic front. The latest run actually has a very narrow strip of up to 0.30" which could mean someone really cashes in with the high ratio fluff we've been seeing lately. Looks like a fun evening ahead.

Appears we picked up at least 1" here overnight, and I see the remote site at Hermit Lakes picked up around 3 inches. The Sherbie should be good this morning.

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4 hours ago, dmcginvt said:

What a delightful week, it's just unreal what a difference a week makes in the nickel and dime world after 1 synoptic with NO WIND!  I put my xmas tree on the deck

 

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Wow lollipop land. Keep the pics coming guys and gals

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13 minutes ago, Ginx snewx said:

Wow lollipop land. Keep the pics coming guys and gals

Made me think of this I saw last night... someone posted it from Tres Amigos, which I can see from my place.

Mushroom land out there from the heavy wet snow followed by days of windless 3-4" fluffers.

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10 hours ago, dryslot said:

Good set of tires and some weight in the bed, You'll learn.

Will surely help, but dry snow atop cold ice is as close to a frictionless surface of anything outside of a physics lab.  Studs might help.  Our Subarus have never been close to getting stuck in the driveway but the little Rangers/Mazda have occasionally required lots of wood ashes - small short grade but zero run-up.  If I can get up the driveway I'll make it over Mile Hill.  (Climbs 300' in that mile, steepest near the top, sharp turn at the bottom to discourage making a run.)

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10 hours ago, MRVexpat said:

The Maine mountains are unbelievable good CAD spots. It seems Saddleback and Sugarloaf even moreso but I'm sure that's just because they average 70" and 50" more per year respectively, thus making it seem amplified.

I remember taking an early April midweek trip to the Loaf back in my Sugarbush days when we had rain in the forecast in VT and a slushy 6" of snowpack. My buddy and I are driving NW past Errol NH and the snowbanks start shooting up and the rain turns to snow. Of course we were aware of the forecast and were pow hunting but it was the sheer snowpack at that time of year that surprised me most. 

For day in day out ski conditions though, nothing can touch VT imo. Pretty sure Jspin touched on this in the past but when you can cover up a cutter with 4" of snow, grooming that in overnight makes a world of a difference. That and the natural tree skiing in VT is far superior, if that's your thing. Lots of schwack in NH and ME. 

Vermont upslope fluff may be unmatched, but Sugarloaf has about 1000 acres of tree skiing east of the groomed trails on Burnt Mt and Brackett Basin.  No grooming there but it's patrolled.  About half looks like it's lift serviced, and further east it's skins or sno-cat.  (MY knees rule out any skiing but the maps look interesting.)

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25 minutes ago, tamarack said:

Vermont upslope fluff may be unmatched, but Sugarloaf has about 1000 acres of tree skiing east of the groomed trails on Burnt Mt and Brackett Basin.  No grooming there but it's patrolled.  About half looks like it's lift serviced, and further east it's skins or sno-cat.  (MY knees rule out any skiing but the maps look interesting.)

Yeah I've seen those from a distance while skiing Sugarloaf but never took the time to skin over there. They do look sweet though! Are those natural glades? I had always assumed that they were specifically cut or logged at one time. My earlier point was simply that in VT, you can wander into the woods in many places along the spine and more often than not find perfectly spaced maple groves with minimal underbrush that is perfect for skiing. No cutting involved! That is what I've found to be pretty unique there. 

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2 hours ago, tamarack said:

Will surely help, but dry snow atop cold ice is as close to a frictionless surface of anything outside of a physics lab.  Studs might help.  Our Subarus have never been close to getting stuck in the driveway but the little Rangers/Mazda have occasionally required lots of wood ashes - small short grade but zero run-up.  If I can get up the driveway I'll make it over Mile Hill.  (Climbs 300' in that mile, steepest near the top, sharp turn at the bottom to discourage making a run.)

My little subbi sedan is great in the snow with just all season tires, I've tried to stay away from studs on any of my vehicles.

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9 minutes ago, dryslot said:

My little subbi sedan is great in the snow with just all season tires, I've tried to stay away from studs on any of my vehicles.

I don't particularly like studs and would never pay to have them on my tires. There is some thought that studs are only good in very specific conditions and actually increase stopping distance on bare, paved road. I bought my current set of winters used and they already had studs.  I got them because a set of Nokias with less than a thousand miles on them for $500 was too good a deal to pass up.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2359001/studded-tires-winter-car-prep#:~:text=It found that after just,is also torn to pieces.

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Event totals: 4.4” Snow/0.09” L.E.

 

After a relative lull in the precipitation overnight, I was ready to make this morning’s observations the last for the Thursday system, but looking at the BTV NWS AFD and the models, all these rounds of snow are parts of this same low pressure moving through southern Quebec, so I’ll keep them together as part of the same system.

 

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

New Snow: 0.2 inches

New Liquid: Trace

Temperature: 23.7 F

Sky: Flurries

Snow at the stake: 17.0 inches

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Event totals: 5.3” Snow/0.12” L.E.

 

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

New Snow: 0.9 inches

New Liquid: 0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 30.0

Snow Density: 3.3% H2O

Temperature: 33.3 F

Sky: Flurries

Snow at the stake: 17.0 inches

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1 hour ago, dryslot said:

My little subbi sedan is great in the snow with just all season tires, I've tried to stay away from studs on any of my vehicles.

Had studs om my '69 Nova - NNJ often has more ice than snow on roads and that's where studs make a difference.  Only other vehicle we've had with studs was our '83 Cavalier.  The front-wheel drive 5-speed got 32-33 mpg and aggressive-tread snows, and was easily the best 2WD critter I've ever driven.  Once we had to stop on Rt 11 on Soldier Pond hill, 10 miles south of Fort Kent and 10-12% uphill, because a pickup was losing it in the 2-3" new snow.  He got it together and we had no problem starting back up.  6" snow on the half mile/250' climb to home in the back settlement nor in 6" April mud that caught bigger (15" wheels to our 13s) cars and full size 2WD pickups.  Unfortunately the unibody "frame" rusted out after 10 years and 147k miles while the car still offered smooth 30+ mpg - engine never missed a beat.

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13 hours ago, ORH_wxman said:

Agree with Scooter on the wind at Cannon. It is awful there...every single time I’ve been in that peak it’s brutal. The terrain is amazing but the wind definitely has a detrimental effect on coverage.  

I think that’s part of their snowfall issues too. Like look at MWN. There’s a zero percent chance they average “only” 260” of snow if we could theoretically catch all the snow that falls there. But we can’t and it blows off into the ravines. Cannon isn’t the best snow spot anyway, but likely a higher percentage of their snowfall just gets nuked off the mountain face by wind than other mountains...and that mountain face is so exposed too where the trails are. Not many sheltered spots for it to collect. 

I agree with respect to the wind issue for MWN, and it’s good that you mentioned the ravines, because it’s not as if the snow is just nuked into oblivion, it still has to go somewhere.  So for MWN, they really should be able to get a more reasonable representation of the snowfall in Tuckerman Ravine or at Hojo’s.  Unfortunately, I don’t think either of those sites has consistent snowfall monitoring, and from what I’ve heard, even Pinkham Notch isn’t monitoring snowfall consistently anymore?  Pinkham is probably too far removed from the summit to actually be a good representation of summit snowfall anyway (it’s more representative of a “base elevation” snowfall), but it’s still unfortunate if they’re not keeping up the records.

With that said, MWN is at least cognizant of the challenges in collecting snow in an extremely windy environment, and they have some measures in place to adapt to it.  They’re always doing experimental weather stuff up there, so I bet they’ve experimented with different approaches and are getting a more reasonable number than many could in that environment.

Contrast that to Mt. Mansfield, where they were (according to PF’s research) simply using a standard metal rain gauge to try to collect snow on the ridgeline, and of course they were engineers associated with the communications towers, not meteorologists or scientists that might be trained to deal with those nuances of snow collection.

That’s why PF has his plot around 3,000’ on the east side of Mansfield; it’s essentially the Mansfield version of collecting the snow that falls on the MWN ridgeline and gets blown into the ravines.  It’s probably a better overall representation of Mansfield’s upper elevation snowfall in a meteorological sense, and it’s certainly a better representation of what people are actually skiing each season, since the east slope is where people ski, not the windswept ridge line.

I’m still not convinced that Cannon is actually missing out on recording much actual snowfall though, or at least relevant snowfall.  OK, so the higher elevations of Cannon Mountain are blasted by wind (just like all the other high peaks around here), but as I mentioned above, the snow has to go somewhere.  It’s not as if that snow is going to blow 10 or 20 miles away, it should be collecting on the leeward side of the mountain, just like for MWN and Mansfield.  A lot of the trails at Cannon appear to face north (good choice for snow preservation), so they would not really be collecting snow from north or northwest winds, but those trails could get summit snow from more southerly winds.  The terrain in the tram area terrain certainly has some easterly component to it that would catch summit snow on westerly winds.  Some of the issue could come down to where the ski area is measuring their snowfall, but I can’t imagine that after many decades of the ski area being there, they haven’t figured out where/how to do that effectively.  If they’re trying to measure near the summit, then they have likely figured out a sheltered spot that collects snow by now.  Or, if they’re measuring mid-slope, then that really should be an accurate representation of the snow that falls there, where people are skiing, so the numbers are the numbers.  There’s also the ground truth of people going there and frequently experiencing icy conditions, which indeed can speak to wind if you’re near the summit, but the mountain has trees, so if the icy nature of the surfaces isn’t improving quickly as you get descend out of the summit winds, that’s still not a great sign with respect to the mountain’s overall snowfall.

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2 hours ago, MRVexpat said:

Yeah I've seen those from a distance while skiing Sugarloaf but never took the time to skin over there. They do look sweet though! Are those natural glades? I had always assumed that they were specifically cut or logged at one time. My earlier point was simply that in VT, you can wander into the woods in many places along the spine and more often than not find perfectly spaced maple groves with minimal underbrush that is perfect for skiing. No cutting involved! That is what I've found to be pretty unique there. 

Most have had a partial harvest, done mainly to create glades.  In dense spruce-fir it's hard to travel on foot in summer, much less on skis or snowboards in winter.  The open hardwoods probably were full of 1-2" diameter saplings too.  Many stands in Maine look very little like the VT glade pics.

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Snow has started falling here again. Somewhere between light and moderate.

As for winter tires, I prefer studded snows where I live. This town maintains one paved road, the rest are dirt/gravel (besides two state roads). Going down the hill in icy conditions before the plows come out would be sketchy without studs. Unfortunately I get up before the plows hit, I've never seen them plow overnight here. The town has two plows. I've had to bomb down the hill in a foot and a half of snow before. I really think the best tire set-up varies for when and where you drive. No one size fits all. I doubt I'd have studs in an urban location.

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14 hours ago, Hitman said:

Some years ago, jspin turned me on to all weather tires by Nokian.  Great in the snow and u can ride them year round.  I have a set of nokian at’s on my ranger pickup but I don’t need a dedicated winter tire being mostly in ny metro.

Yeah, the Nokian WR series; we learned about them from a close friend who ran them on his Subaru.  We’ve been running them on our Subarus for probably more than a decade now, and we’ve never looked back.  They’re on to the fourth generation at this point (Nokian WR G4), and they’re always trying to improve the unique combination of snow and dry road performance.

Obviously, one can go with a more aggressively winter tire, such as a full blown Nokian snow tire, or even studded tires if they really need to, but the beauty of the WRs is the ability simply “set it and forget it” and really get winter performance close to a full blown snow tire.  Anyone who runs two full sets of tires knows how much of a headache it can be to get them changed, even if you’ve got two sets of rims and you’re doing it yourself, but an even bigger factor that I like removed is the when component.  Around here, especially as someone who is always heading up into the higher elevations to ski, I can need tires to deal with snowy ski area parking lots and snowy inclined roads from October through May.  What are the options – run summer tires just for June, July, August, and September, and leave winter tires on for the other eight months of the year?  Or, do you put them on late/take them off early and deal with potentially getting stuck in snow during the fringe seasons?

Using the WRs really takes all that hassle and guessing out of the equation, and for an all-wheel drive vehicle like a Subaru, you’ve got plenty of great winter performance without having to go to a full blown snow tire or studs.  Yeah, the softer rubber on WRs is going to wear a bit faster than what’s on all seasons or summer tires, but to us, that’s nothing compared to the time and money that would be spent changing tires over on multiple vehicles every spring and fall.

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I have snows on my car and wife has all seasons..both AWD.  Never really had an issue here in the valley.   Kind of sketchy at times heading up the mountain to Bromley/Stratton area if its coming down--but I will say the road crews do a really good job for the most part and never had too much of an issue.

When we were house shopping a few years ago we looked at a few places that were in the 1800-2200Kft range on the east slopes.  Some of these places were isolated and tucked away up hilly driveways/back roads.  AWD and snow tires would be an absolute must in some of those areas if you were trying to get in and out on daily basis.  A couple I had trouble with in my car with snows and AWD---tucked away in deep evergreen shaded roads that became pure ice without snow cover.

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9 minutes ago, Patriot21 said:

As for winter tires, I prefer studded snows where I live. This town maintains one paved road, the rest are dirt/gravel (besides two state roads). Going down the hill in icy conditions before the plows come out would be sketchy without studs. Unfortunately I get up before the plows hit, I've never seen them plow overnight here. The town has two plows. I've had to bomb down the hill in a foot and a half of snow before. I really think the best tire set-up varies for when and where you drive. No one size fits all. I doubt I'd have studs in an urban location.

Yeah, absolutely, in some cases, you just need to go full tilt with studded snows to ensure that you’re going to have bomb-proof transportation if you live in a challenging location.

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Growing up in PA I don't think I even knew snow tires existed :lol: I never knew anyone who had those in the Philly suburbs--doesn't really make sense down there,  lack of snow and everything is paved.  Even when we did weekend Pocono trips, never recall any issue--whether FWD, RWD, AWD.

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Snowing here. Getting moderate now.

Like all residents of Norwich- we have two cars- a Prius and an Outback.  It may as well be a town ordinance that you own a blue Prius and a dark Subaru.

We run Nokia tires on both.  With my commute I need snows to be safe and this year we put studded Hakkas on the Outback to make sure we have one care that can get through anything.  Our driveway is long, steep, and faces northeast and is sometimes the worst of any drive.  The studs were to calm my wife's fears of being on the driveway as she skidded off it and almost rolled the car during some frz rain a couple of winters ago, I make sure the snows come off the Prius first and go on after the Subaru is set up just so the one car that can get through the worst of things is set and the high mileage car gets the all season tires sooner.

 

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Just now, klw said:

Snowing here. Getting moderate now.

Like all residents of Norwich- we have two cars- a Prius and an Outback.  It may as well be a town ordinance that you own a blue Prius and a dark Subaru.

We run Nokia tires on both.  With my commute I need snows to be safe and this year we put studded Hakkas on the Outback to make sure we have one care that can get through anything.  Our driveway is long, steep, and faces northeast and is sometimes the worst of any drive.  The studs were to calm my wife's fears of being on the driveway as she skidded off it and almost rolled the car during some frz rain a couple of winters ago, I make sure the snows come off the Prius first and go on after the Subaru is set up just so the one car that can get through the worst of things is set and the high mileage car gets the all season tires sooner.

 

:lol: Just need a "Feel the Bern" sticker on the back to complete the package.  Wonder if Phin would like one of those?? lol

How are studded tires on dry highway?

 

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4 minutes ago, backedgeapproaching said:

:lol: Just need a "Feel the Bern" sticker on the back to complete the package.  Wonder if Phin would like one of those?? lol

How are studded tires on dry highway?

 

I am still getting used to the studs on dry pavement,  I almost feel like there is a fishtail to things but it isn't as loud as I feared.  

Oddly enough we own the only Prius in Vermont without a bumber sticker- not even the Coexist one which I believe comes standard now on all post 2014 Prius models.

 

Snow is now moderate to heavy,

 

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59 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

I agree with respect to the wind issue for MWN, and it’s good that you mentioned the ravines, because it’s not as if the snow is just nuked into oblivion, it still has to go somewhere.  So for MWN, they really should be able to get a more reasonable representation of the snowfall in Tuckerman Ravine or at Hojo’s.  Unfortunately, I don’t think either of those sites has consistent snowfall monitoring, and from what I’ve heard, even Pinkham Notch isn’t monitoring snowfall consistently anymore?  Pinkham is probably too far removed from the summit to actually be a good representation of summit snowfall anyway (it’s more representative of a “base elevation” snowfall), but it’s still unfortunate if they’re not keeping up the records.

With that said, MWN is at least cognizant of the challenges in collecting snow in an extremely windy environment, and they have some measures in place to adapt to it.  They’re always doing experimental weather stuff up there, so I bet they’ve experimented with different approaches and are getting a more reasonable number than many could in that environment.

Contrast that to Mt. Mansfield, where they were (according to PF’s research) simply using a standard metal rain gauge to try to collect snow on the ridgeline, and of course they were engineers associated with the communications towers, not meteorologists or scientists that might be trained to deal with those nuances of snow collection.

That’s why PF has his plot around 3,000’ on the east side of Mansfield; it’s essentially the Mansfield version of collecting the snow that falls on the MWN ridgeline and gets blown into the ravines.  It’s probably a better overall representation of Mansfield’s upper elevation snowfall in a meteorological sense, and it’s certainly a better representation of what people are actually skiing each season, since the east slope is where people ski, not the windswept ridge line.

I’m still not convinced that Cannon is actually missing out on recording much actual snowfall though, or at least relevant snowfall.  OK, so the higher elevations of Cannon Mountain are blasted by wind (just like all the other high peaks around here), but as I mentioned above, the snow has to go somewhere.  It’s not as if that snow is going to blow 10 or 20 miles away, it should be collecting on the leeward side of the mountain, just like for MWN and Mansfield.  A lot of the trails at Cannon appear to face north (good choice for snow preservation), so they would not really be collecting snow from north or northwest winds, but those trails could get summit snow from more southerly winds.  The terrain in the tram area terrain certainly has some easterly component to it that would catch summit snow on westerly winds.  Some of the issue could come down to where the ski area is measuring their snowfall, but I can’t imagine that after many decades of the ski area being there, they haven’t figured out where/how to do that effectively.  If they’re trying to measure near the summit, then they have likely figured out a sheltered spot that collects snow by now.  Or, if they’re measuring mid-slope, then that really should be an accurate representation of the snow that falls there, where people are skiing, so the numbers are the numbers.  There’s also the ground truth of people going there and frequently experiencing icy conditions, which indeed can speak to wind if you’re near the summit, but the mountain has trees, so if the icy nature of the surfaces isn’t improving quickly as you get descend out of the summit winds, that’s still not a great sign with respect to the mountain’s overall snowfall.

I have heard of deep snows in the woods, so that does explain some wind issues. I did think about the snowfall though. Depending on the Froude numbers, it's possible the best snows may be just E and SE of the mtn. They are right on the uplift zone for Wrly and NWrly flow. So if you avg out an entire winter season, it's possible the best snows may be not at the ski areas itself, but perhaps just downwind a tad. 

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