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 Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:21 pm

powderfreak wrote: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.

That 248 is a "brochure quote." I have never called/inquired there. We accepted it for http://zrankings.com/resort/snow and perhaps we should not have.

As for Sutton, I'm now considering giving them a call. Their website has season snowfall going all the way back into the 1960's. It's only opening date to closing date though. I have daily records from Jay since 2001, can use those to project out to Nov. 1 - Apr. 30, result is still only 207 inches average for Sutton. My guess is that Sutton measures at somewhat low elevation, but for now that's just a guess.

But it's interesting that the people who actually live and/or ski up there think the big snowfall dropoff should be between Sutton and Orford, not between Jay and Sutton.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:31 pm

powderfreak wrote: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.


Which are precisely two of the criticisms I maintained from a decade working there in the 90s.

And regarding Sutton, I already explained that. A narrow east/west ridge orientation does not contribute well to orographic lift.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:54 am

Nice to see the Townships getting some attention from the snow experts, even if the region comes up short compared to NVT. Anecdotally (which is all that really matters =;), I've always done very well there.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:23 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Anecdotally (which is all that really matters =;), I've always done very well there.

In these situations it's important to analyze why you have or have not done well there. If you were there a couple of days and it dumped 2 feet that's luck. If you were skiing powder top to bottom at Sutton while half of Jay was on wind hold, that's important information for future reference.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Harvey44 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:54 am

Can someone summarize the conclusions of this thread in four easy to read bullet points? Who won? :-P
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby lono » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:10 am

1. In most snow events , the higher the elevation, the more accumulation.
No surprise to even the most casual skier.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:17 am

Admin was correct to say that accurately measuring Jay's snow at the summit is pure folly due to the insane winds.
Admin was correct that Jay's snow measuring process leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering that snow is its big market differentiator, and that they often err on the side of overestimating rather than underestimating.
Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS. Powderfreak and JSpin both said that it's very much possible.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:05 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Did I pass the test?

Yes. Outstanding questions remain.
1) How much, if any extra snow, does Jay get vs. Mt. Mansfield? Not easily resolvable due to Jay's imprecise snowfall methodology.
2) Where and why does snowfall decline rapidly as you go north of the US-Canada border? Beyond Mt. Sutton, elevation, orientation and overall barrier size of mountains are logical negative factors. Sutton itself remains a question according to JSpin and powderfreak, so I'm trying to contact Sutton directly, with no success so far.
jamesdeluxe wrote:Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS.

He wasn't correct at all. a 25% difference is very common, fairly routine in Colorado where rain has zero influence. At some places like Squaw Valley and Park City it's much more. At Alta that difference is unusually low, which would understandably influence admin's view on the topic. The difference between the UDOT measurements at Alta's base and the ski area's measurements halfway up the hill are less than 10%. Alta's snowfall is impressive by any measure, but for the base of the ski area it's especially remarkable.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Admin » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:44 pm

Harvey44 wrote:Can someone summarize the conclusions of this thread in four easy to read bullet points? Who won? :-P

I'll use one word: Me. :wink:
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Admin » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:47 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS.

He wasn't correct at all. a 25% difference is very common, fairly routine in Colorado where rain has zero influence.


I called BS on a 47% difference, not 25%.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:44 pm

Admin wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS.

He wasn't correct at all. a 25% difference is very common, fairly routine in Colorado where rain has zero influence.

I called BS on a 47% difference, not 25%.

Winter Park averages 213 at 9,265 feet and 349 about 2/3 of the way up the mountain at 10,800 feet. That's 39%. If this is the long term average difference someplace it never rains in the winter, it's not unreasonable that it could happen in a Vermont winter with unusually little rain.

Admin wrote:
Harvey44 wrote:Can someone summarize the conclusions of this thread in four easy to read bullet points? Who won? :-P

I'll use one word: Me. :wink:

Did admin bother to read anything that JSpin and powderfreak wrote???
powderfreak wrote: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 only point admin was correct about was Jay's seat-of-the-pants snow reporting methods, which are evidently the same now as when he worked there.

And perhaps admin could attend to FTO a bit more and tell us where the 2014-15 season recap thread went??? :stir:
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:15 am

The disappearance of the season recap thread issue is relocated here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=11843
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:19 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Did I pass the test?

Yes. Outstanding questions remain.
1) How much, if any extra snow, does Jay get vs. Mt. Mansfield? Not easily resolvable due to Jay's imprecise snowfall methodology.
2) Where and why does snowfall decline rapidly as you go north of the US-Canada border? Beyond Mt. Sutton, elevation, orientation and overall barrier size of mountains are logical negative factors. Sutton itself remains a question according to JSpin and powderfreak, so I'm trying to contact Sutton directly, with no success so far.
jamesdeluxe wrote:Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS.

He wasn't correct at all. a 25% difference is very common, fairly routine in Colorado where rain has zero influence. At some places like Squaw Valley and Park City it's much more. At Alta that difference is unusually low, which would understandably influence admin's view on the topic. The difference between the UDOT measurements at Alta's base and the ski area's measurements halfway up the hill are less than 10%. Alta's snowfall is impressive by any measure, but for the base of the ski area it's especially remarkable.


1) My gut would say the increase would be consistent with the steady rise in accumulation as you move up the Spine. That would put Jay at probably 10-15% more than Stowe/Smuggs/Bolton, as those areas get 10-15% more than Sugarbush. That could put Jay as much as 30-45" more than Stowe over the course of a season, which is pretty much what Stowe does over Sugarbush most years. Recently there have been some winters where Jay has reported up to 100" more than Stowe/Smuggs just one county south. For example just this past winter, Stowe's 284" and Smuggs 272" (which I believe that difference was from November, with both areas identical in snowfall Dec-Apr) were countered by Jay Peak reporting 373". That just isn't anywhere near possible to me, especially given the character of storms this past winter. There was no notable event(s) where it was say raining in Lamoille county and snowing in Orleans county. No event where Jay got like 3 feet while only 10" fell one county south.

The only way Jay could report 100" more than Smuggs is if where they are "taking their measurments" (ie skiing through powder and estimating depths, possibly in drifts) is if the spot they often ski accumulates like 1.5 times reality due to drifting (say on the Face chute glades). Say 12" falls, but that given area of the mountain receives and skis 18" deep (with bare windswept summit), that's what you see on the report. I think Admin's accounts just reinforce this to me based on what a person with close knowledge to this seasons' snow reporting said. Similar to like if Mammoth Mountain measured snow in the 50-foot deep drifts just under the bare rock summit ridge.

My take is that skiers & riders should be able to find deeper areas than the top number on a snow report due to wind-loading. That's where people often assume my stakes under-report but I truly believe I have a very representative spot. Skiers know the deep parts on the mountain...every mountain has them. That spot when a foot of snow falls and you know that certain glade or aspect is going to be DEEP. I should run a study one of these seasons and stick a board in terrain well known for being deeper than anywhere else, and see what the difference is. Maybe I could get a 360" average there or something, haha.

2) Sutton remains a big question for me. I don't believe it is too narrow or too small to not have orographic lift like Jay Peak. A 200" average there has to be wrong, IMO. This season though, they recorded 502cm which is 197". So that would mean that Jay Peak, only 10 miles as the crow flies, picked up 180" more snow than them. That doesn't sit right and I really can't see how that could ever happen, honestly.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby powderfreak » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:35 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Admin was not quite correct to claim that the large discrepancy between base and summit was BS.

He wasn't correct at all. a 25% difference is very common, fairly routine in Colorado where rain has zero influence.


Winter Park averages 213 at 9,265 feet and 349 about 2/3 of the way up the mountain at 10,800 feet. That's 39%. If this is the long term average difference someplace it never rains in the winter, it's not unreasonable that it could happen in a Vermont winter with unusually little rain.


This one again comes down to understanding the local climate and snowflake physics with regards to humidity. The east coast is a "humid" spot compared to out west on the whole, but in winter our precipitable water values (PWATS) are actually at similar values to out west. That is the amount of water that could be squeezed out of the atmosphere is very similar. In orographic precipitation situations, you have precipitation highly tied to the terrain, and with drier air in the low levels and saturated air from mid-mountain and higher...you get much better snowflake growth up high because the arms of the flakes haven't been eaten away by sub-saturated air. Every millimeter you take off a snowflake, the less the accumulation is going to be, even with exactly the same amount of total precip. So say down at the base you are getting good quarter to half inch sized dendrites falling at 1"/hr...but up where RH is 100% in the cloud just below the zone where the snowflakes are being formed, you could be getting half inch or larger dendrites falling at 1.5" or 2"/hr.

We see it quite a bit even in synoptic storms...where the term "virga storm" comes in. The radar is looking really good but you're looking out your window in the valley seeing only flurries falling. But the radar looks like it should be moderate snow. That's because the radar beam is 6,000ft off the deck where it is snowing moderately. So the higher up you go, the harder it is precipitating...and that holds all year around.
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Re: Jay Peak Summit: Most Snow in the Lower 48 in 2014-15???

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:47 pm

As noted before the 373 is the "upper" measurement. When you average it with the 2014 at the base, the resulting 294 is quite in line with Stowe and Smuggs.
powderfreak wrote: A 200" average there has to be wrong, IMO. This season though, they recorded 502cm which is 197". So that would mean that Jay Peak, only 10 miles as the crow flies, picked up 180" more snow than them. That doesn't sit right and I really can't see how that could ever happen, honestly.

James pointed me to the right contact person at Sutton. I have learned 2 relevant facts:
1) Sutton's snow is measured near the base at 1,300 feet. My projected long term average there is 207 inches. This is surely the main reason for the numbers being lower than we expect. Mid-mountain rates to be in the 240-250 range.
2) Sutton's snow is measured "in a box." Now we get into the issues discussed before with the Mansfield Stake's canister vs. the more established practice of a snow board. I have asked for the dimensions of the box.
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