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wxeyeNH

NNE Cold Season Thread 2020-2021

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8 minutes ago, borderwx said:

Spring schedules.

trading the early morning powder harvests for the afternoon corn harvest. It always looks good when the chores get done before leaving for the mountain :) 

I like sleeping in a bit on days off now and not having to race up there for a 7:30 or 8am first chair if it’s snowing, ha.  So many good benefits of this time of year.

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ehh, a couple two day rain events in the 50s puts an end to a lot of the northeast ski resorts.  It's late; I know...I'm just being spoiled and hoping to go into closing weekend in early May with more than just Superstar and the Jet.  Couple years ago, there was a handful of glades and a dozen or so trails.

 

and is that the synoptic snow bomb we have been waiting weeks for early next week on the gfs?  If only...

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35 minutes ago, bwt3650 said:

ehh, a couple two day rain events in the 50s puts an end to a lot of the northeast ski resorts.  It's late; I know...I'm just being spoiled and hoping to go into closing weekend in early May with more than just Superstar and the Jet.  Couple years ago, there was a handful of glades and a dozen or so trails.

 

and is that the synoptic snow bomb we have been waiting weeks for early next week on the gfs?  If only...

Has to be right. I put away all the snow removal equipment today. 

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16 hours ago, PhineasC said:

High dews and rain will accelerate melting and shorten the season, right? The grinch storm melted like 15” in one day here and could have kept going if I had more snow. I don’t think a lot of these ski places could really take something like that. 

 

13 hours ago, bwt3650 said:

ehh, a couple two day rain events in the 50s puts an end to a lot of the northeast ski resorts.  It's late; I know...I'm just being spoiled and hoping to go into closing weekend in early May with more than just Superstar and the Jet.  Couple years ago, there was a handful of glades and a dozen or so trails.

PF is the expert on this, but having some rain and warmth is a normal part of the spring ski season around here.  In terms of effects on the snow, there’s really no comparison when it comes to getting rain in late March or April to rains and warmth at Christmas – this is an entirely different type of snowpack.

Whether it’s typical spring rains, or typical spring warmth, the trails with marginal coverage are going to be getting thin in either case.  The only way that process is going to be slowed for the lower elevations as we move toward April is with below average temperatures.

If a resort around here has its season ended by a spring rainstorm, then they either have to be a resort that is running 100% on natural snow, or that’s the approximate planned closing date for the resort anyway.  These resorts aren’t just guessing when it comes to how much snow they put down on their trails – they put down a required amount of snow to hit their target date with appropriate coverage under normal New England spring weather.  In all my years of skiing, I’ve just never seen the resorts that plan to stay open get shut down around here due to spring rains.

I’d be much more worried about snowpack loss if we had a week of early heat like we did that one season – that really seemed to make a substantial dent in the snowpack that spring.

Hopefully PF will weigh in, since he’s in mountain operations and knows what they watch for with regard to the spring snowpack progression.

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Just now, J.Spin said:

 

PF is the expert on this, but having some rain and warmth is a normal part of the spring ski season around here.  In terms of effects on the snow, there’s really no comparison when it comes to getting rain in late March or April to rains and warmth at Christmas – this is an entirely different type of snowpack.

Whether it’s typical spring rains, or typical spring warmth, the trails with marginal coverage are going to be getting thin in either case.  The only way that process is going to be slowed for the lower elevations as we move toward April is with below average temperatures.

If a resort around here has its season ended by a spring rainstorm, then they either have to be a resort that is running 100% on natural snow, or that’s the approximate planned closing date for the resort anyway.  These resorts aren’t just guessing when it comes to how much snow they put down on their trails – they put down a required amount of snow to hit their target date with appropriate coverage under normal New England spring weather.  In all my years of skiing, I’ve just never seen the resorts that plan to stay open get shut down around here due to spring rains.

I’d be much more worried about snowpack loss if we had a week of early heat like we did that one season – that really seemed to make a substantial dent in the snowpack that spring.

Hopefully PF will weigh in, since he’s in mountain operations and knows what they watch for with regard to the spring snowpack progression.

Yeah, good point since man made is literally a different beast entirely. 

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2 hours ago, J.Spin said:

 

PF is the expert on this, but having some rain and warmth is a normal part of the spring ski season around here.  In terms of effects on the snow, there’s really no comparison when it comes to getting rain in late March or April to rains and warmth at Christmas – this is an entirely different type of snowpack.

Whether it’s typical spring rains, or typical spring warmth, the trails with marginal coverage are going to be getting thin in either case.  The only way that process is going to be slowed for the lower elevations as we move toward April is with below average temperatures.

If a resort around here has its season ended by a spring rainstorm, then they either have to be a resort that is running 100% on natural snow, or that’s the approximate planned closing date for the resort anyway.  These resorts aren’t just guessing when it comes to how much snow they put down on their trails – they put down a required amount of snow to hit their target date with appropriate coverage under normal New England spring weather.  In all my years of skiing, I’ve just never seen the resorts that plan to stay open get shut down around here due to spring rains.

I’d be much more worried about snowpack loss if we had a week of early heat like we did that one season – that really seemed to make a substantial dent in the snowpack that spring.

Hopefully PF will weigh in, since he’s in mountain operations and knows what they watch for with regard to the spring snowpack progression.

In general the snowpack now is granular and there's obviously no fluff factor.  It is well compacted several times over and the man-made snow has a ratio of like 3:1 sleet before it gets compacted by the tractors (groomers) and skier traffic.  That stuff takes an insane amount of energy to melt.  I mean even in a year like 2012 when it was like nights of 50F and days of 75F for like 4-5 days, the snowmaking routes largely held up.  That glaciated snow just does not melt fast... there's a reason why I'm wandering around up there finding piles of man-made snow in like June even after weeks of above freezing temperatures 24/7.

The natural snow, certainly that's going to go faster.  But the snowmaking routes will hold for quite some time.

The other thing to consider right now is these warm sunny afternoons have very dry air.  As long as the air is so dry, the snowpack actually gets protected a bit via evaporational cooling on the snow surface.  A thin skin of colder temperature (evap cooling lower temp) develops on the interface of the snow and air.  The dry air really is a savior for snow preservation.  Everything froze solid last night too, and the night time freezes are big as well.

Now if dew points spike to 50F in heavy rain the equation does change a bit but the fact remains that the man-made snow right now is basically a solid block of ice that's like 2-8 feet thick depending on the trail/area.  I can see the grooming team's snow depth sensors which gives a map of the mountain and the snow depths under every pass the snowcats make on the hill.  It'll be interesting to see the progression of that over the next week.  By and large though, take the "over" on expected life span of man-made snow... it takes a lot of energy to melt that.  Sort of like if your yard was filled with 4-5 feet of sleet.  It would be there forever.

 

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22 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Awesome day.  This morning was the spring equinox at like 5am.  Nice timing as the day dawned bright and temps have warmed up nicely.

Yeah, fantastic out there yesterday.  We headed up for an afternoon session at Timberline with its classic western-facing afternoon sun.

The temperatures were quite pleasant, but despite the decent warmth with temperatures in the 40s to around 50 F, there were still different surfaces out there.  Terrain right in the sun on the main part of Timberline was mostly good corn snow, but up around 2,500’ or so, snow that was not in the sun was still in a more frozen, winter-like state.  In some lower elevation areas that were only partially in the sun, there were also some areas of mushy/sticky snow because it had not been cycled enough yet for complete corn.

I think we’re planning to head out for another afternoon session today – it’s even warmer, and we did get another freeze-thaw cycle overnight, so that might change the dynamics of which areas have which types of snow surfaces.

A few shots from yesterday:

20MAR21B.jpg

20MAR21C.jpg

20MAR21D.jpg

20MAR21A.jpg

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3 hours ago, J.Spin said:

 

PF is the expert on this, but having some rain and warmth is a normal part of the spring ski season around here.  In terms of effects on the snow, there’s really no comparison when it comes to getting rain in late March or April to rains and warmth at Christmas – this is an entirely different type of snowpack.

Whether it’s typical spring rains, or typical spring warmth, the trails with marginal coverage are going to be getting thin in either case.  The only way that process is going to be slowed for the lower elevations as we move toward April is with below average temperatures.

If a resort around here has its season ended by a spring rainstorm, then they either have to be a resort that is running 100% on natural snow, or that’s the approximate planned closing date for the resort anyway.  These resorts aren’t just guessing when it comes to how much snow they put down on their trails – they put down a required amount of snow to hit their target date with appropriate coverage under normal New England spring weather.  In all my years of skiing, I’ve just never seen the resorts that plan to stay open get shut down around here due to spring rains.

I’d be much more worried about snowpack loss if we had a week of early heat like we did that one season – that really seemed to make a substantial dent in the snowpack that spring.

Hopefully PF will weigh in, since he’s in mountain operations and knows what they watch for with regard to the spring snowpack progression.

J-Spin...always spewing the facts and climatology to counteract our wennie emotion...NNE will be fine...poconos, Catskills and Mass will struggle to get through this week, but I think April 1 is the goal anyway...anything past that is gravy.

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

In general the snowpack now is granular and there's obviously no fluff factor.  It is well compacted several times over and the man-made snow has a ratio of like 3:1 sleet before it gets compacted by the tractors (groomers) and skier traffic.  That stuff takes an insane amount of energy to melt.  I mean even in a year like 2012 when it was like nights of 50F and days of 75F for like 4-5 days, the snowmaking routes largely held up.  That glaciated snow just does not melt fast... there's a reason why I'm wandering around up there finding piles of man-made snow in like June even after weeks of above freezing temperatures 24/7.

The natural snow, certainly that's going to go faster.  But the snowmaking routes will hold for quite some time.

The other thing to consider right now is these warm sunny afternoons have very dry air.  As long as the air is so dry, the snowpack actually gets protected a bit via evaporational cooling on the snow surface.  A thin skin of colder temperature (evap cooling lower temp) develops on the interface of the snow and air.  The dry air really is a savior for snow preservation.  Everything froze solid last night too, and the night time freezes are big as well.

Now if dew points spike to 50F in heavy rain the equation does change a bit but the fact remains that the man-made snow right now is basically a solid block of ice that's like 2-8 feet thick depending on the trail/area.  I can see the grooming team's snow depth sensors which gives a map of the mountain and the snow depths under every pass the snowcats make on the hill.  It'll be interesting to see the progression of that over the next week.  By and large though, take the "over" on expected life span of man-made snow... it takes a lot of energy to melt that.  Sort of like if your yard was filled with 4-5 feet of sleet.  It would be there forever.

 

Maybe a repeat of 12/25/20 with its 2-3" of 50° RA would wreck things, as the snow might be eroded by overland flow as well as being melted from above.   Ain't happening, and if it did the blown out bridges and roads would keep the skiers away anyway.

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30 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

In general the snowpack now is granular and there's obviously no fluff factor.  It is well compacted several times over and the man-made snow has a ratio of like 3:1 sleet before it gets compacted by the tractors (groomers) and skier traffic.  That stuff takes an insane amount of energy to melt.  I mean even in a year like 2012 when it was like nights of 50F and days of 75F for like 4-5 days, the snowmaking routes largely held up.  That glaciated snow just does not melt fast... there's a reason why I'm wandering around up there finding piles of man-made snow in like June even after weeks of above freezing temperatures 24/7.

The natural snow, certainly that's going to go faster.  But the snowmaking routes will hold for quite some time.

The other thing to consider right now is these warm sunny afternoons have very dry air.  As long as the air is so dry, the snowpack actually gets protected a bit via evaporational cooling on the snow surface.  A thin skin of colder temperature (evap cooling lower temp) develops on the interface of the snow and air.  The dry air really is a savior for snow preservation.  Everything froze solid last night too, and the night time freezes are big as well.

Now if dew points spike to 50F in heavy rain the equation does change a bit but the fact remains that the man-made snow right now is basically a solid block of ice that's like 2-8 feet thick depending on the trail/area.  I can see the grooming team's snow depth sensors which gives a map of the mountain and the snow depths under every pass the snowcats make on the hill.  It'll be interesting to see the progression of that over the next week.  By and large though, take the "over" on expected life span of man-made snow... it takes a lot of energy to melt that.  Sort of like if your yard was filled with 4-5 feet of sleet.  It would be there forever.

 

Fantastic explanation, thanks!

I am fully expecting to ride only snow making trails next weekend. 
The pile on superstar at Killington is pretty incredible right now. It has to be at least 30’ deep near the top. That’s how you get into May with uncooperative weather 

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FB Memories reminded me of today back in 2012 when the great melt was occurring.... I've never seen rivers running through the trails like that before.  Highs in the 70s and overnights in the 50s... I think we even hit 80F in the valleys for a couple days.

The overnight lows were the killer though.  I remember showing up at 5am to Ops and it was 57F outside at that time.

555422_10101273136640830_772726148_n.jpg

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On 3/19/2021 at 10:19 AM, backedgeapproaching said:

Encroaching on all time March rat territory locally at Peru VT coop.

Only .4" so far, going to need something to pop late month or this will be lowest March in 80 years of data.  State record 24 hr snow in DEC and lowest March total ever possibly..some wild swings.

Screenshot_20210319-102102_Chrome.thumb.jpg.c0b5d5e2d21933ce92bed033eb251952.jpg

I don’t see March 2020 on that list, so I don’t know how it went down there, but my data are rather interesting for March up here at our site, with a couple of key points:

1) As of March 3rd this season, we’d already picked up as much snowfall as the entirety of last season (142.1”).  We’ve of course had additional snow since that point, so we’re already going to outperform last season with respect to snowfall, it’s just a question of by how much.

2) As of March 14th this month, we’d already picked up (within a tenth of an inch) as much snowfall as the entirety of last March (12.9”), so any more snowfall this March will actually push it past last March.

I guess those trends are for this area, but if people are concerned about the lack of snowfall this March, what was the situation last March?

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20 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

I don’t see March 2020 on that list, so I don’t know how it went down there, but my data are rather interesting for March up here at our site, with a couple of key points:

1) As of March 3rd this season, we’d already picked up as much snowfall as the entirety of last season (142.1”).  We’ve of course had additional snow since that point, so we’re already going to outperform last season with respect to snowfall, it’s just a question of by how much.

2) As of March 14th this month, we’d already picked up (within a tenth of an inch) as much snowfall as the entirety of last March (12.9”), so any more snowfall this March will actually push it past last March.

I guess those trends are for this area, but if people are concerned about the lack of snowfall this March, what was the situation last March?

Yea,  the screenshot I posted left out a lot of years.  2020 was 19.1"-slightly below the 22.2" average. 

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45 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

I don’t see March 2020 on that list, so I don’t know how it went down there, but my data are rather interesting for March up here at our site, with a couple of key points:

1) As of March 3rd this season, we’d already picked up as much snowfall as the entirety of last season (142.1”).  We’ve of course had additional snow since that point, so we’re already going to outperform last season with respect to snowfall, it’s just a question of by how much.

2) As of March 14th this month, we’d already picked up (within a tenth of an inch) as much snowfall as the entirety of last March (12.9”), so any more snowfall this March will actually push it past last March.

I guess those trends are for this area, but if people are concerned about the lack of snowfall this March, what was the situation last March?

Thru today (22nd) last March wasn't much better than this one, 1.2" vs our current 0.1".  However, we were about to get the season's biggest snowfall, 10.3" on 23-24, and the 4.0" rimey paste on 29-30 brought the month total to 15.5".  The west part of NNE didn't get much from that 23-24 event.

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