Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:18 am

Here's the helpful Jay/Townships map that Patrick posted in the Orford thread -- he wrote "lines represented the general or main orientation of the trail network. As you can see, most of them face North."

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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:53 pm

Now that JSpin has addressed this issue, shouldn't you have at least brought up the "Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???" possibility and let Fraser's readers make up their own minds? Just sayin' :-)
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:24 am

Fraser didn't give me a fixed length limit for these season roundups, but he clearly wants them in the general overview format of what he does for the Alps and not the lengthy detail that I put on bestsnow.net . I did touch on the issue of top vs. mid-reporting in the case of Alyeska because it's such an extreme example, and if you're going to accept Jay's upper number, you have to accept Alyeska's much larger upper number.

I have no problem defending the methodology of using mid-mountain for a "Most Snow" or "Top Ten" article, and I was careful to state "mid-mountain" explicitly. I don't think there's any question, top-to-bottom, that Alta had more snow than Jay. The true closest competitors were Revelstoke, Breck and A-Basin. Given unresolvable differences in reporting, you could make a case for any of those 3.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby J.Spin » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:01 am

Admin wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:I (and others) still have hard time believing why Jay would get materially more snow than Mansfield.

Simple, Mansfield is more in the shadow of the Adirondacks from the Alberta Clipper systems.


While the snowfall collection and reporting at Jay Peak Resort is a bit of a mystery, the high snowfall isn’t just marketing and hype; there are a number of factors potentially playing into increased precipitation/snowfall for the Jay Peak area vs. Mt. Mansfield. I’ve highlighted four elements below:

Shadowing: Admin is exactly right with his comment above. This is one of the key factors believed to play into that snowfall bump at Jay Peak over resorts a bit farther to the south – and the trend continues right down the spine of the Greens, with decreasing snowfall as one heads south and mountains are more and more in the shadow of the Adirondacks. Due to their different geological origins, the ‘dacks are more of a “clump” of mountains vs. an optimal snow-grabbing “spine” like the Greens, but the ‘dacks are still quite a formidable range of peaks, reaching over a mile in height. With all those prevailing Alberta Clippers coming in from the west and northwest, woe to thee who is east, or especially southeast, of that range.

Orientation: Another factor that appears to play into the extra snowfall at Jay Peak is the orientation of the Green Mountain spine in that area – I’ve seen Powderfreak point this out in discussions on the topic. People may think of the Greens as spine running directly north to south, but there are some very important subtleties to that overall orientation. The Greens actually bend to the northeast in the northern part of Vermont (see topographic map below), placing them even more optimally perpendicular to the prevailing northwest winds and moisture than points farther south. Jay Peak is sort of the extreme case here, with the spine having bent the farthest by that point and more optimized to catch the northwest winds. Note that although Jay Peak is often spoken of as being very isolated, from the topographic map below, one can see that the Green Mountain spine is still clearly alive and well up there near the Canadian border, even if Jay Peak has a bit more prominence above other elements of the spine in the immediate area.

Image

Isolation: So as noted above, the Green Mountain spine is still present up near Jay Peak, but apparently the mountain has still got enough local prominence/isolation to enable orographic upslope enhancement in essentially every direction. You can see some aspects of this on the map below. Look to the east of Jay Peak and you won’t see mountains, but look to the east of Mt. Mansfield and you’ll find the Worcester Range. Perhaps even more important is the fact that Mansfield is entrenched in the spine, which doesn’t optimize orographics from the north and south. Powderfreak spoke of this in a post at American Weather:

“Jay is in the best location for a ski area in the eastern U.S... no doubt. On Mansfield we have high terrain south of us and north of us so we don't really upslope on a due southerly flow or due northerly flow. However, any easterly or westerly component to the wind will upslope over 3,000ft between the lower elevations east/west of the mountain, and the 4,000 ft ridgeline.

In general though, no one can beat Jay for pure orographic fun.”

Latitude: It’s only occasionally that a critical rain/snow/mix line will line up between Jay Peak and the resorts just to the south, but when that does happen, even just transiently, it’s yet another bump in Jay’s snowfall numbers relative to those other resorts.

There may even be other factors in play beyond the four I highlighted above, but people can probably get the picture at this point. Jay Peak is regionally in an optimal position for getting snow. Even the weather models, especially the mesoscale models that are finely attuned to account for effects of local topography, reveal the propensity for enhanced snowfall in that area. Note that these models are presumably unbiased, simply taking into account the atmospheric dynamics and terrain orographics, and I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve looked at the model prognostication maps to see the QPF maximum sitting over Jay Peak. Time and time again in their forecast discussions, the meteorologists at the National Weather Service Office in Burlington will point out how Jay Peak comes up as a jackpot of precipitation on the models, especially when those Alberta Clipper type systems come though. I grabbed a few examples from discussions

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/35526-the-201213-ski-season-thread/page-14#entry1876509

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/79-nne-slowly-approaching-winter/page-12#entry62903

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/37693-nne-winter-thread/page-10#entry1887098

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/36386-nne-fall-2012/page-28#entry1839120

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/37693-nne-winter-thread/page-18#entry1895185

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/31283-christmas-sunday-night-windex-potential/page-7#entry1221975

http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/38417-nne-winter-thread-ii/page-5#entry1933779

The examples above are just a few posts above that came up in a search at American Weather, but even the impartial mathematics of the weather models point toward higher precipitation/snowfall at Jay Peak. I’ll message Powderfreak to see if he has any additional insight in the snowfall/snow totals at the mountain that might be useful in Tony’s understanding of the snowfall totals that are reported.
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Re: Western Weather 2014-15

Postby powderfreak » Tue Jun 23, 2015 3:42 pm

Admin wrote:The fact is that Jay's summit is a windswept point of almost solid bedrock right at tree line on an already notoriously windy mountain. Jay officials have a hard enough time keeping any snow there at all, as evidenced by the snow fencing lining the upper Vermonter and Northway trails, the two runs that leave the Sky Haus tram top station. Without that fencing, snow would be blown straight to Canada. Instead, that fencing creates drifts that may be redistributed and groomed by snowcat to cover those two trails. I personally can't imagine how anyone could accurately measure snowfall in that kind of environment. And with such a cold, rain-free winter, why in the world would there be such a discrepancy between the upper mountain and lower mountain figures? All of this leads me to suspect that the upper mountain snowfall figure is complete fantasy.


Regarding the bold...the differences in upper mountain snowfall in the Greens is not tied to rain/snow events. For example, this past season I measured as diligently as one possibly can in a mountain environment on two snowboards, and came up with 170" at the base and 284" at the summit. I've done the numbers before and regardless of the type of winter, the upper mountain plot (3,014ft) will receive somewhere between 30-40% more than the base at 1,550ft. Its almost fail-proof. If the upper plot gets 300", the base will be around 200" or at least that's the general association.

The upper mountain just gets more precipitation in general for one. I know its hard to conceptualize, but during our upslope snows and in general most of the snowstorms, the upper elevations are in a saturated environment allowing much better dendrites to reach the surface (fluff factor) and it also saturates earlier. Often our big fluff storms will occur due to orographic lift where you are looking at near 100% RH at the summit and 50% at the base. That drier air in elevation will shrink the dendrites and just cause general evaporation. I'll often find gradients like 2-3" at home at 750ft, which increases to 5-6" at 1,500ft and then will go to 10+" above 3,000ft. Orographic snows often will have a much larger elevational difference than nor'easters or synotpic storms where the low levels are saturated to a 90% RH or higher straight to the valley floors. You find a more evenly distributed snowfall in those big storms. Its the light to moderate systems like Alberta Clippers where you can get 10" of fluff at 3,000ft and only 4-5" at 1,500ft, as those clippers are usually working with a lot less moisture, so to get the really good snows you want to be closer to the LCL (lifting condensation level) where the RH hits 100%. As air is lifted forcibly by the terrain the RH increases as the air parcel rises and cools. We can often have steep lapse rates in the orographic events and the terrain forcing locally results in an environment where the precipitation maximum is right over the crest.

So the precipitation maximum is right over the crest (literally). Even now in June with tropical rains, our base area rain gauge is running 80-90% of the summit...and that's with tropical rains where evaporation isn't as big of an issue as it is in dry winter air. But doing the math, as I said the larger differences are in the fluffy orographic snowfalls and alberta clippers. These fluffy snowfalls have high ratios, as J.Spin's data can show you can get even 50:1 ratios at times. Lets say 40:1 ratios are in place, even a 0.1" precipitation difference between the base and summit will result in a 4" snowfall difference. So take an upslope event where 0.4" of QPF falls at the summit, and 0.25" falls at the base...that can be 16" on the upper mountain and 10" at the base. With high ratio snowfall, very small differences in total liquid can create big differences. Now, lets say there's a big difference in RH that ranges from 100% in the cloud at the summit and 60% at the base which causes the dendrite arms to shrink as the snow falls. So now the summit is getting 40:1 ratios and the base is only getting 25:1 ratios (still really fluffy snow and you wouldn't really be able to tell the difference). In this case you have different ratios occurring due to the dry air in the low levels, and the summit picked up a little more moisture. This example with 0.4" of QPF vs. 0.25" of QPF would result in snowfall at the summit of 16" and 6-7" at the base.

Meanwhile take a synoptic nor'easter that drops 1.2" QPF at the summit and 1.0" at the base at 10:1 ratios...that's just a small range of 10-12".

I can't explain it fully but I can say that there is certainly a big difference in snowfall between base and upper mountain at Stowe, regardless of temperatures. If anything, the colder winters have more high ratio snowstorms which are where the larger differences can occur with even small liquid differences. Its to the point that local skiers expect significantly more snow in the higher elevations...such that if they pull into the parking lot with 7", they are expecting double digits up high. Snowfall is elevation dependent not only in rain/snow situations, but in a lot of our local Green Mountain snowfall due to orographics. I would also argue that the northern Greens will have a larger range of base to summit snowfall than any other region in the Northeast because of the local effects.
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Re: Western Weather 2014-15

Postby powderfreak » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:19 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I figured that JSpin would answer admin's questions quite thoroughly. :-)

While I believe that the overall climatology of the Northern Greens has been explained, I (and others) still have hard time believing why Jay would get materially more snow than Mansfield.


Do you believe that Mansfield gets materially more snow than Killington or Sugarbush? The Jay to Mansfield difference is very similar in the jump up that the Bolton/Stowe/Smuggs stretch has over the Killington or even Sugarbush area.

Climatologically speaking in the Northeast, snowfall increases as you head north all other things equal. So regardless of topography, Jay Peak would average the most snow in VT because its the furthest north. Personally, I believe Jay Peak gets the most snow in Vermont. It makes sense in that there is a very clear trend in summit snowfalls as you go from Mt Snow to Killington, and Killington to Sugarbush and Sugarbush to Stowe and Stowe to Jay. Each are only one county north of the other, but there is a marked difference often at the end of the season.

While I say that they get more snow, I'm skeptical the difference is as large as it turns out. I have some inside information on Jay's snow reporting from a Lyndon State College student that is good friends with a former snow reporter there.

1) They have no set stakes or any true system for measuring snow. The person stated its too windy and snowfall varies too much to only measure in fixed locations. The range of snowfall given on the report is there to give you an approximation of what you'll find on the hill. Most days it could be 0-24".

2) Its mostly an eyeball and gut feeling on snowfall. Snow Reporters can get very good at estimating snowfall over time, but when giving snowfall ranges what often ends up happening is the upper number is the drifted side of the trail. As skiers we are drawn to the "deeper side of the trail" so say you ski a run and the whole right side it was knee deep and billowing. "There was at least 15 inches out there!" That's what happens when you don't measure in the same place every single time. You end up almost cherry picking the deep lines and that's how much snow fell.

3) The upper number is not necessarily the summit snowfall. Its just the "higher end" of what you'll find out on the hill. Whether that means drift depths or what I have no idea. This source said they'll often take their first runs on a powder day down The Face and in that area of terrain. Like Admin said, the ridgeline is wind-swept and barren rock a lot of the time. That snow has to end up somewhere. It usually ends up on The Face Chutes. Apparently it fills in fairly evenly too. So 12" falls and it ends up being 18-20" in The Face Chutes. The argument can be made that the Snow Report is showing you snowfall you can expect to ski through. So if you are skiing through 18-20" of snow down The Face off the Tram, that can be the snowfall they go with. How would you know that's not what fell? Skiers and riders are floating through 20" of snow up there! It can almost be an issue of the difference between "snowfall" and "new powder in the summit glades". At Mansfield, it would be like measuring in the Bypass Chutes or anywhere on the Kitchen Wall (which probably gets 400" of snowfall and has depths of 10-14 feet) on the very high east side of the crest. If I wanted to, I could easily find a spot at Stowe that gets 350-400" a year under the cliffs of the Kitchen Wall. Skiers will often mention that the snow is always deeper there...well yeah, it is, it blew in off the ridgeline. That's why I measure at 3000ft and not 3600ft up under the cliffs.

4) The mountain is very windy and its nearly impossible to tell exactly what fell. That said, the attitude is when in doubt, go higher because no one can disprove it. A certain Johnson State College professor stated this year that his students did not agree with the Jay report quite a bit...often lamenting the fact that they'd throw numbers out but then just say it all blew in the woods...so that you spend all day trying to find the 6-8" that seemed more like 4-5".

I think Jay Peak could back up their snowfall claims if they situated a stake in the "right" location in the glades of the Face Chutes under the tram. I could bump Stowe's snowfall if I measured in the upper Bypass Chutes region, too, where 5" can turn into boot deep powder turns. Alta could probably double their snowfall if they measured in the "right" spots, too.

Its not an exact science, but I wish some mountains would go through more effort to show that they are at least trying to do it consistently. I'll often post photos of my snowboards and stakes to Stowe's social media channels and photos of the day, etc. Its the easiest way to show people how much snow fell and it builds trust fast. I can tell via social media, as well as what's posted online in ski forums, and just by word of mouth on the mountain that I've done a good job building up trust in the snow report....to the point that people think its under-reported. But its not. Skiers are just an optimistic bunch and go in search of drifts and deepest snows. Yes, 8" can turn into 16" if you know where to go. But that doesn't mean 16" of snow fell from the sky.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:34 pm

Informative comments by powderfreak above. Legitimate snow measurements should be taken where wind neither adds to nor subtracts from snow totals in the long run. I'm sure that's the objective at Alta Collins and also where powderfreak measures at Stowe. Evidently this is not the case at Jay.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:51 am

Just to :stir: on Mt. Sutton again, here are JSpin's stated reasons for Jay's snowfall exceeding Mansfield's.

1) Shadowing. Sutton is at least as clear of the Adirondacks as Jay.
4) Latitude. Sutton is of course at least as far north also.
3) Isolation. I actually disagree with this one. By my experience isolated peaks tend to get less orographic uplift as weather can go around them whereas it must be forced over a longer perpendicular set of mountains. See Big Sky vs. the Tetons as Exhibit A. At any rate we can't have it both ways saying isolation enhances Jay's snow while diminishing Sutton's.
2) That leaves Orientation and 800 feet lower altitude (though still the same as Bolton's) as crashing Sutton's snowfall ~40% below Jay's. And JSpin's topographic map shows the relief just north of the border still on somewhat of a SW-NE orientation.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:26 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Just to :stir: on Mt. Sutton again

Why are you busting on Sutton? The annual snowfall quote on their website isn't inflated: 500 cm/approx 200 inches.

As my Feb 2010 visit demonstrated, it's sometimes better to have a foot of undisturbed fresh than 16-18 inches of wind-jacked and lift holds.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:17 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Why are you busting on Sutton? The annual snowfall quote on their website isn't inflated: 500 cm/approx 200 inches.

Not busting on Sutton. I just think the huge disparity between Sutton and Jay given their proximity is curious. And when you go through JSpin's criteria it becomes even more curious. It's like the difference between LCC and the Park City group. In nearly all such situations the drier area is in the precipitation shadow of the snowier one, which is not the case here. Burke, which is barely higher than Sutton and IS in the precipitation shadow of the Green Mt. spine, claims 248 inches.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby J.Spin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:01 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Just to :stir: on Mt. Sutton again, here are JSpin's stated reasons for Jay's snowfall exceeding Mansfield's.

1) Shadowing. Sutton is at least as clear of the Adirondacks as Jay.
4) Latitude. Sutton is of course at least as far north also.
3) Isolation. I actually disagree with this one. By my experience isolated peaks tend to get less orographic uplift as weather can go around them whereas it must be forced over a longer perpendicular set of mountains. See Big Sky vs. the Tetons as Exhibit A. At any rate we can't have it both ways saying isolation enhances Jay's snow while diminishing Sutton's.
2) That leaves Orientation and 800 feet lower altitude (though still the same as Bolton's) as crashing Sutton's snowfall ~40% below Jay's. And JSpin's topographic map shows the relief just north of the border still on somewhat of a SW-NE orientation.


I used the term “isolation” since I’ve heard that used to describe Jay Peak’s setting before, but after really looking at its position on the map, perhaps “exposure” (to wind) is a better choice. It’s clear from the topographic map showing the Green Mountain spine that Jay Peak isn’t some sort of isolated peak like a volcano, it’s indeed part of the wall of the Greens:

Image

You’re right that we can’t have it both ways with regard to inclusion in the spine and isolation, but I guess it’s possible that Jay Peak has some favorable combination of inclusion in the spine along with that wind exposure Powderfreak spoke of with respect to decent orographics from multiple directions.

The Mont Sutton snowfall issue is interesting. I think the general feeling most people have around here in ski country is that annual snowfall steadily increases right up the Green Mountain spine in Vermont from south to north, peaks in the Northern Greens around the international border at Jay Peak, and then begins to fall off again as you head farther northward into the Canadian Green Mountains of the Eastern Townships. It’s funny, I’ve only skied the Eastern Townships once, but that snapshot of experience was exactly in line with the snowfall trend I just mentioned. Mont Sutton in the south near Jay Peak had by far the best snow, then I’d say Owl’s Head fell in somewhere behind it, and finally Mont Orford to the north had the least snow/poorest conditions. Mont Orford has some very challenging Jay Peak-style terrain, but of course relative to the somewhat tamer terrain at Mont Sutton, that only served to exaggerate the difference in snow quantity/quality. If indeed the annual snowfall at Mont Orford is half of what Jay Peak gets, it must be hard for them to get great coverage on a lot of the steep, natural terrain that’s available. Mont Orford may have slightly better preservation than Jay Peak since they have a bit more latitude, but that really doesn’t matter if you never get enough snow to get the off piste surfaces well covered to begin with. Snow quality will typically trump more aggressive terrain for me, so of the Eastern Townships areas that I’ve skied, Mont Sutton would definitely be the first one I’d want to visit again.* Clearly James experienced decent coverage at Mont Orford on his 2010 trip, but from what I witnessed, and the annual snowfall numbers they provide, I wonder how often the snow gets to that stage. After my trip to Mont Orford I was left with the impression that most of the time in the off piste it would be an experience of picking your way through minefields of debris due to poor coverage.

So with Mont Sutton only about 10 miles north of Jay Peak, why does the annual snowfall apparently drop off so sharply? I don’t know too much about the overall topography there, but I went to Google Earth and looked at the profile of the Mont Sutton-Jay Peak area from the all-important northwest direction. The Mont Sutton area, peaking with 3,156’ Sommet Rond, is on the left, the Jay Peak area with Jay Peak at 3,858’ is on the right, and the yellow line is the international border:

Image

I assume some orographics/snowfall are lost due to the ~700’ of vertical that the Mont Sutton area is giving up compared to Jay Peak, but it’s hard to say why the snowfall would drop off so much north of the international border. I guess the immediate Mont Sutton area might have a bit less expansive relief facing the northwest. Also, although it wasn’t evident in that topographic map I posted earlier because it’s cut off in the north, looking at an expansion of the map of the Canadian Green Mountains on Peakbagger.com:

Image

…the amount of relief is certainly falling off pretty quickly north of the Mont Sutton. Even more notable though is how much the width/girth of the range diminishes north of the border. Perhaps that overall area is simply a less effective “wall” for moisture – it certainly looks like it on that map relative to the expansive area south of the border in the Northern Greens down through Bolton. The general orientation of the range in the Mont Sutton area looks good with respect to a northwest wind though, even if the trails themselves face north and are lined up along an east-west ridge as Admin mentioned. Maybe the fact that their terrain faces north instead of a more leeward, easterly direction, plays a role in what they record for snow totals, but that could depend on where they make their snowfall measurements.

At what elevation is the snowfall measured for Mont Sutton? If it’s near the base, then I guess that could also account for a lot of the difference relative to Jay Peak, but if it’s up near 3,000’ then I guess that’s just the way it is, and it’s hard to argue with the fact that there is simply a huge difference in snowfall over the course of those 10 miles. Even if we can’t figure out why Mont Sutton gets so much less snow than Jay Peak, I’d argue that Mother Nature is taking every single factor into account; we just may not be aware of everything.

*This is only peripherally related, but it does concern the relatively high snowfall and snow quality at Mont Sutton. I noticed the quote from James’ February 2010 Sutton trip report: “…if you're ever in the area with snow coming down hard, stop at Sutton... on a day like this, it's nirvana.” That comment struck a chord because we experienced some of that during our 2001 trip; we found our way to the western end of the resort’s terrain and discovered acres and acres of untracked powder in the trees – then it snowed hard, dropped a quick inch, and brought things up another notch on piste as well. That inch was probably so welcomed simply because we’d experienced such blasé conditions the previous day at Mont Orford, but even without that, the conditions and coverage were simply better. It was yet another snapshot of what appears to be a common theme in snowfall between the two resorts. Even though the annual snowfall falls off somewhat at Mont Sutton compared to Jay Peak, Mont Sutton still appears to be in an area that can get in on some of the “extra” snow that sets its conditions apart from neighboring areas to the north.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:51 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Why are you busting on Sutton? The annual snowfall quote on their website isn't inflated: 500 cm/approx 200 inches.

As my Feb 2010 visit demonstrated, it's sometimes better to have a foot of undisturbed fresh than 16-18 inches of wind-jacked and lift holds.


Tony Crocker wrote:Not busting on Sutton. I just think the huge disparity between Sutton and Jay given their proximity is curious. And when you go through JSpin's criteria it becomes even more curious. It's like the difference between LCC and the Park City group. In nearly all such situations the drier area is in the precipitation shadow of the snowier one, which is not the case here. Burke, which is barely higher than Sutton and IS in the precipitation shadow of the Green Mt. spine, claims 248 inches.


No way that Burke gets 248" and Sutton gets 200"...absolutely no way. If anything, Sutton should be 248" and Burke is 200". I can't believe Burke says 248"? I was thinking like 180" at the summit of Burke, if that.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:01 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Informative comments by powderfreak above. Legitimate snow measurements should be taken where wind neither adds to nor subtracts from snow totals in the long run. I'm sure that's the objective at Alta Collins and also where powderfreak measures at Stowe. Evidently this is not the case at Jay.


It is a point of contention I've heard in the ski industry before... if there's 18" of snow on a trail or in a bowl or in a glade or whatever, isn't that what a snow report is supposed to tell folks regardless of where that snow came from? If 12" falls but all blows into an area of the ski area creating 18" while bare rocks line the summit, some folks will actually try to make a case that 18" should be reported because that's what skiers and riders are going through. I have too much respect for meteorology and the science involved in measuring snow"fall" (not snow "on the trail") to not try to cheat it by cherry picking the location of a snow stake.

But what would help Jay I think, is to actually get a stake and a snow board and physically measure it...and show people that you do it. Even if the location is in a like multi-acre sized drift, its a good start to build some credibility amongst the more weather savvy skiers. Most folks (even such as the NWS meteorologists I know at BTV) know Jay Peak gets the most snow in Vermont on an annual basis because it makes sense, but there's certainly a lot of skepticism on just how much more Jay gets. In reality it should be in the range of like say the difference between Sugarbush and Stowe. Say up to 50" over the course of a season...not 60-100" like we've seen in some recent years.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:10 pm

I've been looking at a topo map of the Sutton and Jay Peak area....and I've got nothing to explain the huge difference in snowfall. I honestly can't see how Sutton wouldn't be in the same range as the northern Greens...its essentially the same chain just 10 miles north. Maybe the orographics would be slightly less, but overall I can't come up with any smoking gun as to why they wouldn't be in the same range. If anything, in upslope situations with a low pressure off to the northeast and cyclonic flow, I would think Sutton would do just as good as Jay and probably more than Smuggs/Stowe/Bolton.

I just can't figure that one out.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:32 pm

Related to this conversation I've always loved this photo from last winter of the Spine around Mt Mansfield/Stowe.

This is looking west towards the Champlain Valley at the top of the photo, and the town of Stowe is in the bottom of the photo. It also looks like the west slopes in this photo are slightly "whiter" indicating a recent snowfall likely stacked on tree branches.

Image
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