Vermont Snow Updates 2009-10

Summary: 19.1” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 4:00 P.M. EST

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010: 4:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

New Snow: 1.1 inches
Liquid Equivalent: 0.08 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 13.8
Snow Density: 7.3%
Temperature: 16.7 F
Humidity: 79%
Dew Point: 9.1 F
Barometer: 1001 mb
Wind: 5-10 MPH with a few gusts
Sky: Light Snow (2-6 mm flakes)
Storm snow total: 19.1 inches
Storm liquid equivalent total: 0.84 inches
Current snow at the stake: 21 inches
Season snowfall total: 54.8 inches

It was a little chilly this morning, but it was hard to resist checking out what had gone on up on the mountain overnight, so Ty and I went up to Bolton for a few hours today. Most of the main mountain lifts were on wind hold, but the Timberline area (elevations ~1,500’ – 2,500’) was generally out of the wind so things were running smoothly there. In those elevations we found roughly 20 inches of powder in undisturbed areas, and whether due to aspect or elevation, much of the area held snow that hadn’t really been touched hard by the wind. In terms of new snowfall while we were there, it never really came down very heavily, just occasionally moderate with some big flakes. Temperatures seemed to be in the mid teens while we were on the mountain, and at one point we did encounter some graupel-like snowflakes that had taken on a coating of rime somewhere up above. We had some new accumulation on the car when we left around 3:30 P.M. It hadn’t settled evenly since it was very fluffy and there was a little wind, but I’d bet there was an inch or two of new fluff during our 3-4 hours on the mountain. Although the topmost lifts never opened due to the wind, Bolton was able to get people up to the summit areas and revise their snowfall totals for the upper elevations. Things went up a few more inches, so here are the latest numbers I’ve seen:

24-hours: 19 inches
48 hours: 25 inches
72 hours: 27 inches
7 days: 36 inches

Down at the house, there were 1.1 new inches on the snowboard since the 7:00 A.M. clearing, and we’ve got light snowfall coming down. The current winter storm warning for this area continues through 10:00 P.M., and it sounds like we could get a little more snow this evening. The Champlain Valley should continue to get some snow as well. The latest BTV discussion was a fun read explaining how they’ve been a hot spot of convergence.

I didn’t get any shots of the snow around the house, but I threw one in from up on the mountain today. We were doing our best to make good use of what Mother Nature dropped on us.

03JAN10A.jpg


J.Spin
 
jamesdeluxe":1nilpzbs said:
People go on about the ridiculous detail in JSpin's reports (me included), but the guy takes the best pix.
That's why I take a look at this thread from time to time as I certainly don't care about VT snowfall or Bolton conditions.
 
I think I may print that pic out and hang it above my 2 yr old daughter's bed for inspiration! What a great photo!!!
 
Additional updates from the New Year's period can be found in the Bolton Valley 12/31/09-1/3/10 Trip Report, but since that time we've been in a regime of snow showers with a little bit of accumulation each day here at the house. The latest Waterbury update posted to Easternuswx.com is added below:

Today: 0.3” snow/0.04” L.E.
Event Totals: 20.3” snow/0.95 L.E.

The light snow continued today, and this latest round has been granular with denser accumulations.


I've also heard talk of a bit of crust that has formed in the mountains due to some freezing fog/mist that's been around, but it sounds like some places have got it and others haven't. I actually checked our yard snowpack after hearing about this crust, and I wouldn't have been able to detect it just by walking through the snow, but upon close inspection there is a paper thin layer of harder material in there.

-J
 
Latest totals for this extended event here in Waterbury:

Today: 1.5” snow/0.04” L.E.
Event Totals: 22.5” snow/1.01 L.E.

It sounds like the valley totals around the area have generally been in the 1-2 inch range based on the reports from Powderfreak and j24vt at Eastern. Today’s total was certainly our biggest 12-hr accumulation of the midweek, quite fluffy at 2.7% H2O. Twenty four-hour snow totals for the mountains look to be topping out in the 3 to 4 inch range in this area:

Smuggler’s Notch: 3 inches
Stowe: 3 inches
Bolton Valley: 4 inches
Mad River Glen: 2 inches
Sugarbush 1 inch
 
Just got back from Sugarbush. Monday was windblown..no accumulation I could see. By wednesday they got around 3 inches or so...and blew about 3 to 4 feet on some runs!!
 
It looks like we are finally at the end of this extended snowfall event derived from the big storm that’s been hanging out in the Maritimes. This has certainly been the longest event (both in terms of time, but also with regard to the number of entries in my snowfall spreadsheet) since I’ve been tracking snowfall at our location. This event (including the formative stages) has required 17 snowfall accumulation entries, even employing just 12-hour accumulations for the past five days. The previous high mark for entries in an individual event in my records was 10, from a couple of storms during the 2006-2007 season.

With regard to the final observations for the event, yesterday evening in the 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. range we had light snow in Burlington, which gradually ramped up in intensity as I headed to Waterbury. It turns out that not much snow had accumulated during the daylight hours yesterday based on what was on the snowboard when I got home, but in the evening a burst of moderate snowfall came in with huge (up to 1” in diameter) flakes, and that’s where most of yesterday’s 0.9 inches came from. Due to the monster flakes, the accumulation was incredibly dry. Overnight, a similar thing must have happened because the accumulation I found this morning was just like what I found yesterday evening.

Here are the final two entries for the event, and the overall event totals

Yesterday: 0.9” snow/0.01 L.E.
Overnight: 1.0” snow/0.01 L.E.
12/31/09-1/8/10 Event Totals: 24.9” snow/1.05 L.E.

There were still a few flurries around this morning when I was measuring the snowfall, but it should make a good break point between the big storm and this next clipper. As far as the clipper goes, after not much going on in the early morning, we’ve now got steady, light snowfall here in Burlington.
 
Summary: 3.6” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 11:00 P.M. EST

I was very impressed with the way the snowfall picked up and actually started to accumulate this afternoon in the Burlington area, and it’s been interesting to watch the radar with that northerly flow as Powderfreak mentioned in the Northern New England Thread at EasternUSwx.com. We were at my sister’s place in South Burlington this evening, and the huge flakes up to 1-inch in diameter continued to come down the entire time we were there. By the time we left, I’d say there were at least a couple of inches in her driveway, and the Burlington area actually had some of the more intense snowfall we encountered on the entire route back to Waterbury. The more intense snowfall in the Burlington area dropped off immediately as we began to descend French Hill into Richmond, where it was noticeably lighter. Then, it began to slowly intensify as we worked our way through Jonesville, Bolton, and then to our place in Waterbury, but it wasn’t quite up to what we’d seen in South Burlington. It initially seemed like we hadn’t picked up much snow near the house based on what was on our road, but they must have plowed, because once I got to our driveway and saw the tracks my wife had left, it looked like we’d picked up around 3 inches. The accumulation on the snowboard confirmed that, with 2.6 inches as of 9:30 P.M.

Friday, January 8th, 2010: 9:30 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

New Snow: 2.6 inches
Liquid Equivalent: 0.04 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 65.0
Snow Density: 1.5%
Temperature: 16.9 F
Humidity: 79%
Dew Point: 9.3 F
Barometer: 1014 mb
Wind: 5-10 MPH
Sky: Light Snow (2-6 mm flakes)
Storm snow total: 2.6 inches
Storm liquid equivalent total: 0.04 inches
Current snow at the stake: 18 inches
Season snowfall total: 63.2 inches

Here are the 24-hour totals I’ve seen for some of the Vermont mountains in association with this clipper and the tail end of the previous event:

Jay Peak: 4”
Smuggler’s Notch: 6”
Stowe: 3”
Bolton Valley: 5”
Mad River Glen: 4”
Sugarbush: 3”

We’ve picked up another inch of snow in the last 90 minutes and the flake size and rate of snowfall are up since my 9:30 P.M. observations, so I’d say it’s certainly coming down with at least moderate intensity. I’m not sure how far into the evening this snowfall will last, but if the local mountains are getting in on this like we are, then there could be a nice fresh coating of fluff for turns tomorrow morning.

J.Spin
 
Waterbury Event Totals: 4.8” snow/0.07” liquid equivalent

The sky is entirely clear now, so apparently this event it complete. We picked up 2.2 inches of snow overnight since the 9:30 P.M. snowboard clearing, and it seems to be of the same ilk as yesterday’s accumulation – both extremely dry in the 1.4% -1.5% H2O range.

Friday, January 9th, 2010: 6:30 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

New Snow: 2.2 inches
Liquid Equivalent: 0.03 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 73.3
Snow Density: 1.4%
Temperature: 8.1 F
Humidity: 75%
Dew Point: -0.9 F
Barometer: 1019 mb
Wind: Calm
Sky: Clear
Storm snow total: 4.8 inches
Storm liquid equivalent total: 0.07 inches
Current snow at the stake: 18 inches
Season snowfall total: 65.4 inches

Bolton Valley is reporting 4 inches of snow yesterday and 5 inches overnight, for an event total of 9 inches, which is just about twice what we picked up down here. However, due to the tail end of the long-duration system and the way the numbers are broken out by the resorts, it’s not easy to figure out numbers for many of the other areas; the 72-hour accumulations totals aren’t correct for just this event, and some 24-hour totals seem to include just the overnight numbers. For those resorts that have updated this morning and were specific with regard to their yesterday and overnight accumulations, here’s what I’ve seen for totals with the clipper:

Jay Peak: 4”
Bolton Valley: 9”
Mad River Glen: 8”

At SkiVermont.com, 72-hour totals for the ski areas in the northern part of the state range from 5 to 15 inches, with the most northerly resorts (Jay Peak, Smuggler’s Notch) coming in at the high end with 15” and 14” respectively.

J.Spin
 
Stowe, VT 10JAN2010

We skied at Stowe yesterday afternoon and I spent my time on the lower half of Spruce with the BJAMS kids. In general I’d say the groomed runs were pretty firm, probably a notch firmer than what I’ve been experiencing at Bolton, and certainly worse than what I’ve usually experienced at Spruce after a stretch of decent winter weather. Snow came down with some vigor for a little while, but it was probably just 10-15 minutes and didn’t really amount to anything. The off piste conditions looked pretty good, but I didn’t get a chance to check them out.

J.Spin
 
Waterbury event totals: 1.4” snow/0.07 L.E.

Monday, January 18th, 2010: 7:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

New Snow: 1.4 inches
Liquid Equivalent: 0.07 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 20.0
Snow Density: 5.0%
Temperature: 32.7 F
Humidity: 98%
Dew Point: 32.0 F
Barometer: 1013 mb
Wind: Calm
Sky: Flurries (1-3 mm flakes)
Storm snow total: 1.4 inches
Storm liquid equivalent total: 0.07 inches
Current snow at the stake: 13 inches
Season snowfall total: 69.2 inches

The first flakes appeared here around 11:15 P.M. last night. I saw just flurries until about midnight, when the flake size and intensity picked up substantially. Even though temperatures have been right around freezing in our location, the larger flakes still made for a fairly airy accumulation. But, there’s still plenty of moisture in the snow, so once you compact it you can tell that it’s somewhat wet. The 1.4 inches picked up from this event is right in line with where the BTV NWS suggested we would be according to their “Storm Total Snow Forecast” map.

With regard to the Vermont mountains, below are the 24-hour totals I’ve seen for some of the Vermont resorts in association with this event. The list is north to south, and as expected, the snowfall increases as one heads southward:

Jay Peak: 1”
Burke: 1”
Smuggler’s Notch: 1”
Stowe: 1”
Mad River Glen: 3”
Sugarbush: 3”
Pico: 3”
Killington: 3”
Okemo: 6”
Bromley: 4”
Magic Mountain: 7”
Stratton: 5”
Mount Snow: 4”

J.Spin
 
Here’s a quick update on the backcountry snow conditions in the Monroe Trail area of Camel’s Hump State Park as of yesterday (17JAN2010). In the 1,500’ to 2,800’ elevation range where I skied off trail, there were no issues with coverage, and the snow consisted of 14-26 inches of settled powder over the base. The air temperature was probably a couple degrees F above freezing at the lowest elevations, but it didn’t seem to be having a detrimental effect on the consistency of the snow. Since then there have probably been a couple more inches of snow due to the fringe effects of last night's storm. I’ve attached one shot below from near the top of the tour, and more details are available in yesterday’s report.

17JAN10I.jpg


J.Spin
 
Bolton Valley, VT 18JAN2010

On Monday afternoon, E and the boys and I headed up to Bolton for a few runs. They hadn’t reported picking up any new snow from the storm off to the south, and although they did mention that there had been a touch of mixed precipitation, the report said that it hadn’t been anything of consequence. We were all curious to see what the conditions were going to be like, and watching temperatures, it was about 39 F at the house (495’) and 37 F at the base of Timberline (~1,500’). Since we weren’t planning on a crazy day in the off piste, E and Ty brought their Telemark gear to work on turns. We kicked things off with a run down Twice as Nice thinking it would be pretty mellow for E and Ty, but we were surprised to find that the mountain has been letting it bump up. That certainly upped the challenge for those guys on their Telemark gear, but they had fun and the bumps were great. With temperatures a bit above freezing, the groomed snow was skiing very nicely. It was very soft, but fortunately not wet. I can’t remember the last time I’d actually been in too many moguls, and I’d forgotten how much fun they can be. The only downside I saw with regard letting Twice As Nice bump up, is that with its low elevation and all natural snow (and the current snowpack), coverage is probably not quite as good as if it was being groomed. Patrol did have a thin cover sign at the top, which initially surprised us, but once we got in and saw the bumps we realized that was probably a big part of it. We then skied Showtime under the chair, and the consistency of the snow was excellent, aside from a couple of icy spots on the headwall. From the chair we’d seen people laying down some big trenches as they carved it up. Finally venturing up to the top of Timberline (~2,500’) we could see that right around that elevation was where winter was still in effect. The trees were coated with snow and the snow surface was a touch firmer.

We chatted with patroller Quinn down at the base area as we were leaving, and he said that the mountain has been listening to people’s requests with regard to grooming (hence the bumped up Twice as Nice). We also talked about some of the several new glades that the mountain has added for this season, and he filled us in on how conditions had been for the week. He said that everything had remained quite wintry until Friday, when the mountain began to see some spring-style cycling. He also mentioned that the soft conditions on Timberline were certainly the best place to be on Monday. Taking a few trips off the sides of the trails, I found that the off piste snow was certainly a little mushy compared to what I’d seen on Sunday across the Winooski Valley in Camel’s Hump State Park. Over there at similar elevations, the powder had settled down and become denser, but it hadn’t quite taken on that wetter consistency. It’s possible that Bolton’s closer proximity to the Champlain Valley, and being on the west side of the Greens let them get a little warmer. So the skiing was really good at Timberline on Monday, although it might be a bit more variable now if you catch it below freezing. We have been picking up some new snow over the past couple of days with moderate temperatures, so that may help buffer the surfaces if temperatures start to drop.

18JAN10A.jpg


J.Spin
 
I haven't had a chance to add anything to the update thread since I've been putting together stuff from the weekend, and there was a big backcountry debate on SkiVT-L, but I can catch up now.

1/23/2010

On Saturday we were up on Bald Hill for some skiing. Coverage was fine, except for a few small streams being open on the lower part of the trail from a previous bout of warmth. The powder was nothing outstanding compared to what it can be, since it's been a couple of weeks since we've had much in the way of a storm and there was a thin crust a couple of inches down. But, the crust was buried and pretty minimal in many places, so the powder was nothing to complain about too much. Conditions will certainly have changed since the warm storm on Monday, but coverage should be fine at that elevation and it's been snowing today. I've attached one quick image below, and more conditions details and images from Saturday are in the Burrows Trail/Bald Hill trip report.

23JAN10L.jpg



1/24/2010

Sunday afternoon were we up at Stowe for school program session, and this week I was assigned what I call the “young advanced” group so I got to ski some different terrain than last session. We started off at the bottom of Spruce, and since it was a bit above freezing there was some really nice carving where things had been groomed. I hadn’t expected to be cutting trenches in the snow, but the warm temps and a bit of sun had done their thing on the lower slopes. We spent the rest of the afternoon up on the Sensation Quad working on bumps, doing Whirlaway and then Upper Smuggler’s. Conditions were much more in winter mode up top, with decent edgeable snow for the most part, but plenty of icy spots, and in the bumps some thin cover as well. There was a little wind at the very top of Spruce ahead of the approaching storm, but that was it. The trees looked decent, but the guys didn’t want to do any trees since they were focused on the bumps. And, they were definitely intimidated by some of the off piste lines they saw up on the top half of Spruce – a lot of new ones have appeared since the last time I was up there and they are pretty serious. One section of Lower Smuggler’s was closed due to poor coverage, but we headed over to the Side Street/Mogul Field area and there was a very steep groomed section of terrain with great snow that allowed me to work on steeps with the boys. We did some unweighting, jump turning, pole planting etc. on fall away turns. Obviously conditions will be notably different now after yesterday’s warm storm, but coverage shouldn’t be too bad unless the lower slopes took things quite differently than what I’ve seen here at the house or up at the stake. At the house (495’), our snowpack went from 11 inches on Monday morning to 8 inches this morning, and the snow at the Mt. Mansfield stake went from 46 inches on Sunday afternoon to 44 inches on Monday afternoon to 46 inches this afternoon. It has been snowing in the mountains today, and even in Burlington at times, so the Waterbury/Burlington snow update follows below.


1/25/2010

Today it’s been snowing quite a bit; at some point around midday in Burlington I watched the wall of white swallow up the Green Mountain Spine from north to south. That bout of snowfall seemed to end after a couple of hours and the mountains were almost visible again, but then another round came in and the mountains were hidden from then on. It even snowed in Burlington at times, but there was no accumulation there – and it’s easy to tell because at the UVM campus in Burlington, the ground is essentially bare aside from the snowbanks.

On the trip home to Waterbury this afternoon I didn’t see any snow falling in Richmond, but at some point past that it was in the air. I didn’t get the impression that there had been too much snow accumulation in the valleys, because the treated roads were just wet, but there was probably a slushy half inch on my car at the Waterbury Park and Ride. Heading to the house, the snowfall seemed to intensify a bit, and I could tell that we had more than a half inch of snow based on my wife’s tire tracks. When I checked the snowboard at 6:00 P.M., I found 1.1 inches of new snow comprised of 0.05 inches of liquid. It didn’t seem like it was coming down that hard, but the flakes were fairly big (diameters up to ½ inch) and there was already another ½ inch on the board as of 6:30 P.M.

For the local mountains, the most recent snowfall updates were as of ~4:00 P.M., and the only resorts that had reported accumulations were Bolton Valley with an inch and Smuggler’s Notch with 2 inches.

J.Spin
 
Waterbury Event Totals: 1.8” snow/0.07” L.E.

There were still a few flurries in the air this morning in the Waterbury area, but it appears that this event is winding down. It looks like the local mountains north of I-89 did well once the Greens worked their magic; here’s what I’ve seen so far for event accumulations at the Green Mountain ski resorts along the spine, listed north to south:

Jay Peak: 11”
Smuggler’s Notch: 6”
Stowe: 8”
Bolton Valley: 9”
Sugarbush: 1”

Listening to Roger Hill’s broadcast this morning, it sounds like we’ve got a reasonably snowy period ahead with a few events coming through the area. After today’s event finishes up, the next one on tap is on Thursday afternoon with the frontal passage. For our area, Roger is thinking 1 to 3 inches for the valleys, with locally 3 to 6 inches for the mountains. Following that, there is expected to be another frontal passage on Sunday with snow showers and squalls, and then a potentially larger system in the midweek timeframe.

-J
 
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