Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

 

Summary:  0.4” new snow in Waterbury (495’) as of 8:00 A.M. EST

 

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008:  8:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 0.4 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.03 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 13.3

Snow Density:  7.5%

Temperature:  24.4 F

Humidity:  86%

Dew Point:  19.4 F

Barometer:  30.27 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Flurries

Storm snow total:  0.4 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.03 inches

Current snow at the stake:  17 inches

Season snowfall total:  73.7 inches

 

I looked outside at around 1:30 A.M. this morning and noted some flurries, and that was the first I saw of any snowfall for this event.  At some point the snowfall must have picked up to give us a little accumulation, but this morning there have just been a few flurries out there.  Looking at the radar, most of the activity seems to be well off to the south of us in southern New England at this point.

 

J.Spin

 

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Summary:  1.0” new snow in Waterbury (495’) as of 3:00 P.M. EST

 

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008:  3:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 0.6 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.10 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 6.0

Snow Density:  16.7%

Temperature:  32.5 F

Humidity:  92%

Dew Point:  29.6 F

Barometer:  30.00 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Cloudy

Storm snow total:  1.0 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.13 inches

Current snow at the stake:  17 inches

Season snowfall total:  74.3 inches

 

We headed up to the mountain for some turns this afternoon, so here’s a combined valley and mountain weather update.  It wasn’t really snowing at the house (495’) when we left, but it was snowing on the mountain when we got up there at around 11:30 A.M., and the temperature was 30 F in the Bolton Valley Village (~2,100’).  Bolton indicated that they’d received 1 inch of new snow in their morning report, and I’d say they probably got another inch while we were up there.  The snowfall on the mountain was generally moderate, probably in the 0.5”/hr range.  There was only minimal if any wind for most of the time we were there, but there were a few stronger periods with gusts when some of the heavier snowfall would come through.  It sounds like part of that bout of snow hit the valley and deposited the accumulation I found on the snowboard, because my wife said it had started snowing pretty hard at the house not long after we’d left.  The snow on the mountain had stopped by the time we were heading home, and the air had warmed a bit as well.  My car thermometer read 34 F at the village (2,100’) and bumped up to 35 F as we descended to ~1,000’, but then was back to 34 F when we hit the bottom of the access road (340’).  Then as we headed a few miles east toward the house, it dropped some more, hitting 33 F and then 32 F as we got within the last half mile to the house where my household thermometer was reading 32.5 F.  So, the higher elevations were a bit warmer than our spot in the valley, but not dramatically so at around the 2,000’ mark.

 

In terms of the ski conditions, all I can say is that they were fantastic on the lower mountain terrain we hit.  With feet of new snow falling in the past week, the conditions were already soft, and the couple new inches from today just added a little icing on the cake.  We didn’t hunt down too much powder today with Dylan along and Ty working on Telemark technique, but where we did jump into the powder it was nice.  The powder wasn’t as light and airy as Saturday; it was more like the light to medium density stuff from Sunday/Monday.  The temperatures were great at right around the freezing mark, and I guess the holiday rush doesn’t start quite yet because there was hardly anyone there.  Even arriving at close to noon we were able to park halfway down in the top tier of the lot.  We skied with my colleague Stephen and his children Helena and Johannes, and everyone agreed that the conditions were stellar.   We skied the Mid Mountain Chair (Snowflake wasn’t running) and the snow in the Forest was an awesome mix of soft packed powder and powder off to the sides.  I also spoke with patroller Quinn, and he said that the latest news he’d heard on Timberline and Wilderness was that the resort planned to open them Friday.  I’m sure the openings will be a bit weather dependent since they are essentially on all natural snow, but as Quinn indicated and numerous others have mentioned in trip reports, Timberline is skiing very well.  I can see what look like a few spots with vegetation sticking out each time I go by, but obviously they feel there will be enough coverage (perhaps they’ll touch up with snowmaking over the next couple of days?) to open.

 

J.Spin

 

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Thursday, December 25th, 2008

 

Summary:  1.6” new snow in Waterbury (495’) as of 11:00 A.M. EST Thursday

 

Thursday, December 25th, 2008:  11:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 0.6 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  N.D.

Snow/Water Ratio: N.D.

Snow Density:  N.D.

Temperature:  35.6 F

Humidity:  58%

Dew Point:  20.5 F

Barometer:  30.21 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Partly Cloudy

Storm snow total:  1.6 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.13+ inches

Current snow at the stake:  13 inches

Season snowfall total:  74.9 inches

 

I didn’t have a chance to get these data out yesterday due to various holiday activities, but here are some weather updates.

 

After Wednesday’s snowfall during the midday, I didn’t encounter any precipitation for the rest of the day in the Bolton/Waterbury/Burlington areas.  I did hear mention of some other types of precipitation in the greater Burlington area at some point on Wednesday, but if we got anything else in Waterbury it must have been brief because there wasn’t any material on the snowboard but some dense snow.  We were in the Burlington area overnight Wednesday night, and when we arrived there in the late afternoon on Wednesday, the temperature was 37 F and there was a decent south wind.  It was interesting to note that the Burlington area has quite a substantial snowpack right now after the back to back weekend storms, and a quick glance Wednesday evening suggested that there was over a foot at my parent’s place in South Burlington.  The weather seemed rather benign in the Champlain Valley during the Wednesday overnight, but the temperature remained above freezing.  I suspect the area snowpack settled somewhat, but it wasn’t obvious from what I saw Thursday morning.  Early to mid morning on Thursday we had about an hour’s worth of snow showers and heavier squalls (seemed like a frontal passage) that deposited a new coating of snow.

 

Traveling back to Waterbury Thursday morning, I was surprised to see that the intervening towns in the Richmond, Jonesville, and even Bolton areas seemed to have similar or even slightly less snow than Burlington, and then at around Waterbury the snowpack started to increase again.  Back at the house I found 0.6 inches of new snow on the snowboard, presumably from the squalls that passed through with the front.  There was a thin layer of melted/refrozen material below the new snow, possibly from either snow that had melted in the above freezing temperatures or some sort of mixed precipitation.  I didn’t have time to check the water content of the snow since we were quickly heading out of town, but as there was so little snow on the board I suspect there were just a few tenths of liquid at most.  I looked at my snow/rain gauge and there was minimal material in there as well, indicating the same thing.

 

We headed down into Southern New England yesterday, and here’s a brief update on what we saw in terms of snowpack.  From Waterbury we traveled south on I-89, and there was a substantial snowpack throughout the entire stretch of I-89 to New Hampshire, especially in the higher elevations around Northfield etc., but even the lower elevations like the White River Valley around Bethel and the Connecticut River Valley in the White River Junction/Lebanon area.  As we passed the Whaleback ski area outside Lebanon, NH, we could see that the lift was running and a few people were skiing, although there were some bare spots visible on portions of the steeper terrain.  The snowpack was sustained all the way into Massachusetts, although it gradually decreased.  We’re in Boston’s South Shore area now and the snowpack is in the 4-6 inch range.

 

J.Spin

 

I've been off the slopes for a couple of days, but from what I've seen it's got to be a quality thing as you say.  I don't think there was much in the way of liquid precipitation (I've heard people talking about rain but I haven't seen any, or heard any hard numbers to suggest there was much):

 

The Mt. Mansfield numbers for the past three days:

 

Tuesday, Dec 23: 0.5" snow, 0.1 liquid equivalent, high temp 9 F, 41" at the stake

Wednesday, Dec 24: 2.0" snow, 0.24" liquid equivalent, high temp 29 F, 43" at the stake

Thursday, Dec 25: 0.0" snow, 0.00" liquid equivalent, high temp 37 F, 39" at the stake

 

So at least on Mt. Mansfield, any liquid precipitation must have fallen on Wednesday and couldn't have been too extensive if there was only 0.24 inches of liquid including 2.0 inches of snow.

 

But clearly there was some warm air at elevation based on the Thursday Mansfield data.  I'm guessing areas will have closed some terrain after the snow froze because it's icy, but my daily Bolton Valley reports and today's snow report indicate the following for trail counts:

 

Tuesday, Dec 23: 34 trails

Wednesday, Dec 24: 33 trails

Thursday, Dec 25: 33 trails

Friday, Dec 26: 33 trails

 

From what I heard they were thinking of opening up the rest of the mountain today, but perhaps they held off due to the weather.  It looks like they closed some of the steep, natural snow terrain, and must have opened a couple of other trails for the numbers to be near the same.

 

Personally I'm not planning to hit the slopes until we get some new snow, although I'm wondering if Sunday might be warm enough to warrant getting out for a bit.  I'll keep that option open and provide a report if it's nice enough to head out.

 

-J