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NNE Cold Season Thread 2022/2023


bwt3650
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11 minutes ago, qg_omega said:

That was quick, nothing now

Huh.  Still looked snowy between midweek upslope and the late week WAA…. Still a good 1/2” water to add to snowpack.

I guess in the glass completely empty view it’s nothing?

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Still a wave moving through with upglide that traverses the area.

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I hadn’t been up to the mountain since that fantastic period of skiing from mid-December through the holidays; no major winter storms had come through the area since Winter Storm Elliot, and the skiing just hadn’t seemed good enough to pull me away from other things.  That changed with this most recent storm though – Bolton’s snow report from yesterday morning indicated that they’d picked up half foot of new snow in the past couple of days.  Although the storm did contain mixed precipitation, it delivered 1.33” of liquid equivalent down here at our site in the valley, with most of that as snow/frozen.  Assuming the local mountains exceeded that as they usually do, that’s a storm cycle that has all the makings of a solid resurfacing/base building event.

With this latest storm, Bolton Valley indicated that the Wilderness Uphill Route was officially open again, which is a good sign that there had been a substantial addition to the snowpack.  My observations from yesterday while I was out touring definitely reinforced that notion.  With the effects of this most recent storm, the base snow is actually so dense that I couldn’t do any depth checks, but I’d say you’re looking at probably a foot of base depth at the 2,000’ level.  If the snow density is that same as what I’ve cored down here at our site in the valley, that would have about 2 inches of liquid equivalent in it.  Since the snowpack is just too dense to do any easy depth readings, I don’t have an estimate for the increases of snowpack depth with elevation.  The Mt. Mansfield Stake up at 3,700’ is indicating a snowpack depth of 20 inches as of today though, so I’d assume you’re looking at something in that range once you’re up at the local summit elevations above 3,000’.

In terms of the skiing, I wasn’t really expecting much real powder with how dense the snowfall was from this past storm; my tour was really a chance to get out for some exercise and see how the off piste snowpack and snow surfaces were looking.  I only found about an inch or so of lighter snow above the base, and that was pretty consistent at all elevations in the 2,000’ to 3,000’ range.  Snow coverage of the natural terrain is actually quite good though with that impressively dense base, and Lower Turnpike with a good amount of skier-packed areas has great wall-to-wall coverage.  Steeper terrain with ledges, obstacles, and wind scouring/drifting is not as consistent in its coverage, but the base snow is just so dense that most of the natural terrain is going to be good to go with the next decent storm.  The best snow quality I found was actually natural snow areas that had been skier packed, since areas of undisturbed snow still held the potential to punch through the uppermost layers of the base.  On my descent I definitely employed a mix of alpine and Telemark turns, and the safety of alpine turns with that full width of surface area for both skis in the center was the way to go when navigating snow that hadn’t been packed by skiers.

I stuck around for some lift-served skiing since I’d seen that Alta Vista had been opened, and I think it had seen some of the more recent snowmaking, because it had some of the best conditions I found.  The best snow by far was what people had pushed to the side, but the main surface was better than elsewhere.  Most of the on piste surfaces were typical of what you’d expect for manmade snow that had seen lift-served skier traffic, so really nothing to note in terms of quality.  When I got home and my son asked me about the conditions, I gave the typical on piste conditions a rating of 2 on a 0 to 10 scale, but I have pretty high snow quality standards, so he knows where a value of 2 would stand.  Even without any big storms over the past couple of weeks, the resort has been expanding their terrain with runs like Spillway, and they were blowing snow on Hard Luck as well.  The recent snow was substantial enough that even some natural snow terrain had been opened.  Surprisingly, they don’t have to lower areas of Wilderness open yet to lift-served access, which is pretty typical under these conditions, but they would need to groom it first, so that may take some extra time.

Even if the snow quality isn’t there yet in terms of typical Northern Greens surfaces, it was definitely nice to get back on the slopes after the break.  We had light snow falling during the morning with some blue skies, and some nice snow/rime on the trees.  With that base in place, terrain is likely to expand heavily if these next couple of potential systems in the coming week deliver any substantial snow.

 

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Skied Cranmore today. Got rough in the afternoon but still had fun. Love the vibe of the small, old fashioned New England ski hill. So different from Bretton Woods. Weather was a bit bizarre - surprisingly warmer than here. Was 20F at my house and 31F when we got there. Stayed constant all day there, “warmed” to 22F here. Usually don’t see this much difference or it’s in reverse due to CAD. A few on and off snow showers and some brief light freezing rain. Surprisingly nice views from such a small mountain, but hard to capture in a photo.

 

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2 hours ago, alex said:

Skied Cranmore today. Got rough in the afternoon but still had fun. Love the vibe of the small, old fashioned New England ski hill. So different from Bretton Woods. Weather was a bit bizarre - surprisingly warmer than here. Was 20F at my house and 31F when we got there. Stayed constant all day there, “warmed” to 22F here. Usually don’t see this much difference or it’s in reverse due to CAD. A few on and off snow showers and some brief light freezing rain. Surprisingly nice views from such a small mountain, but hard to capture in a photo.

 

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Nice, how much snow do you think they had? And in the North Conway area in general?

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After getting out to the hill on Saturday, to check out the snow conditions, I hadn’t really planned to ski any other days over the weekend – the conditions on the groomed terrain were fine, but definitely on the firm side.  And the off piste just isn’t very viable at the moment, because while the snow from this most recent storm contributed a fantastic addition to the base snowpack, it needs another good round of snow on top of it or else you’re just skiing on a dense, crusty moonscape.  But, a couple of my students alerted me that they’d be up at Bolton Valley yesterday morning and asked if I wanted to join them, so I said I catch up with them for some turns.  My wife had the holiday off and joined me, and we met up with them in the late morning period and had a great time catching up after the holiday break.  Light snow fell much of the time from the system off the coast, and it certainly made the mood even more wintry, even if it didn’t add much in terms of accumulation.

We’d had a little light snow from that coastal system over the previous day or so, but ski conditions weren’t really all that different from what I’d experienced on Saturday.  Groomed terrain with manmade snow had some bright spots (like Alta Vista again), but most was fairly firm as it had been before.  One very notable positive change that took place over the course of the weekend was that the resort had opened a lot more terrain.  A little (like Hard Luck I believe) was due to snowmaking, but the vast majority was simply natural snow terrain that patrol had been able to check and mark.  They opened all the lower Wilderness terrain that is accessible from the Vista Quad, as one would expect, but I couldn’t believe that even Cobrass was open.  It’s quite steep in spots, has a decent amount of southern exposure, and seemed to be mostly operating on natural snow.

All the natural snow terrain they opened is just a testament to how durable a resurfacing this most recent winter storm was.  The only thing holding back the off piste skiing (although some folks were jumping into the woods in areas) is just the crusty, dense nature of the snow.  It’s simply not all that much fun right now because it’s a bit upside down and crunchy, but boy are both the on piste and off piste areas going to be ready to go with just one decent storm.  With three possible winter storms in the queue over the next six days, ski conditions are really set to take a quantum leap if the accumulations come through as the modeling currently suggests.  The snowpack is there.  At least based on what I saw at Bolton over the weekend, if these storms deliver even half of the snow that’s currently modeled, lift and trail counts are likely to explode over the course of the next week.

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Here we go!  Lots of ground to make up but a system tomorrow night and a couple of nor'easters might do the trick as long as they don't cut too much.
GFS 10:1 snow totals through next Thursday
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It looks solid for a bit and there seems to be some wiggle room too, so I’m optimistic. Plenty of upslope in there too that the global won’t give full credit to. Feb looks to start solid for the ski areas.


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I got a text alert yesterday afternoon that we’d been put under a Winter Weather Advisory for Winter Storm Iggy that is expected to affect the area in the coming days.  I’ve got the progression of the BTV NWS maps over the past couple of update cycles, and as noted in the recent forecast discussions, some areas that weren’t initially under advisories have now been incorporated.  The projected accumulations have been bumped a bit as is often the case as the potential event draws close and confidence increases.

The current BTV NWS point forecast for our site suggests accumulations in the 6 to 12-inch range through Friday night, and the current projected Event Total Snowfall map has us in the 6 to 10-inch range though midday Friday, so those sources both seem quite consistent.  Snow ratios can sometimes be lower with these types of events, so the lower end of that range may be more appropriate, but it will also depend on how much falls in the later portion of the storm cycle when ratios will likely increase.  I’m seeing about 0.70” of liquid projected in our point forecast, which would be 7” of snow if the ratio averages out at a 10:1 SLR for the storm as a whole.

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Probably around 3 or so here. We would get bursts of good snow intensity and flake size but nothing sustained. It has basically been snizzle for the last few hrs. 

The snowmobile rental place here in town never bothered to get their sleds out and ready. Still not enough snow for that. Going to take a miracle, but we may have run out of time. I've been watching the chatter on the suspected Feb pattern and consensus seems to be above normal temps and rain. I suppose it could dump in March and April. But the overall pattern just doesn't seem to support that. Should we start speculating about Winter 23/24? :)

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3 hours ago, mreaves said:

Looks like another 1" or so since my morning measurement. 

There was 1.5” new on the board by the time I could measure around 4:30. Then there was a pretty heavy band that moved through while I was cleaning the driveway. Maybe another half inch in the last hour?  I’m right around 6” for the event. Then my snowblower crapped out. :( The auger that throws it out the shute stopped turning. Ugh. 

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Looks like another 1" or so since my morning measurement. 

Auger shear pin pop loose? It’s happened to ours when the axle gets jammed up

Drove home through freezing rain by the lake into steady snow on the hill, we have made it to 6” as well and currently in a snow globe

Smooth skijoring and we are all excited about getting outside tomorrow for some winter fun


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44 minutes ago, mreaves said:

There was 1.5” new on the board by the time I could measure around 4:30. Then there was a pretty heavy band that moved through while I was cleaning the driveway. Maybe another half inch in the last hour?  I’m right around 6” for the event. Then my snowblower crapped out. :( The auger that throws it out the shute stopped turning. Ugh. 

1.75" since the 4" this morning at 5am.  We are just shy of 6" but it's snowing pretty good right now.  Mix of large flakes and small flakes.

1500ft saw 4.5" + 2.0" at 4pm, so it was 6.5" up the road a couple hours ago.

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