Friday, January 2nd, 2009

 

On January 2nd, 2009 at 8:42 A.M., J.Spin wrote:

 

#1: Friday - Surface low crosses the area with possible warm air advection snow

#2: Friday Evening - Cold front comes through with potential for snow

#3: Late Friday into Saturday/Sunday - Mesoscale upslope snowfall event

#4: Sunday/Monday - Shortwave with a little upslope

#5: Tuesday-Thursday - Surface low/coastal/upslope

 

~1:00 P.M. the initial flakes from #1 above have started and are becoming more numerous.  Still just flurries, but bordering on light snow at this point, with snowflake diameters in the ¼ to 1 inch range.  The NWS isn’t calling for too much accumulation down at our elevation from this WAA part of the system (point forecast is for less than ½ inch) but I’ll keep tabs on whatever we get because our temperature is reasonably cold (18.3 F) so the snow shouldn’t be going anywhere once it lands.

 

J.Spin

 

-----

 

Summary:  1.0” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 6:15 P.M. EST

 

Friday, January 2nd, 2009:  5:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 0.8 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.01 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 80.0

Snow Density:  1.3% H2O

Temperature:  17.4 F

Humidity:  69%

Dew Point:  6.2 F

Barometer:  29.77 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Light Snow

Storm snow total:  0.8 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.01 inches

Current snow at the stake:  9 inches

Season snowfall total:  78.9 inches

 

I was in the Champlain Valley for part of the afternoon, and the snowfall wasn’t too pronounced there, but it gradually increased as I headed back into the mountains and by the time I reached Waterbury I found steady light snow comprised of big fluffy flakes.  We’d picked up 0.8 inches of fluff by the time I wiped the board at 5:00 P.M., and the subsequent snowfall dropped another 0.2 inches on the board.  As of ~6:15 P.M. the snowfall has really let up and we’ve got just flurries in the air.

 

J.Spin

 

-----

 

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

 

Summary:  6.0” snow total in Waterbury (495’) as of 7:00 A.M. EST

 

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009:  6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 3.9 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.13 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 30.0

Snow Density:  3.3% H2O

Temperature:  19.8 F

Humidity:  86%

Dew Point:  14.8 F

Barometer:  29.85 in. Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Moderate/Heavy Snow

Storm snow total:  4.7 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.14 inches

Current snow at the stake:  12 inches

Season snowfall total:  82.8 inches

 

When I last checked the snowboard yesterday evening at around 8:00 P.M., there was an additional 0.4 inches of snow that seemed to be from the warm air advection part of the storm.  Combined with the 0.8 inches on the board at the 5:00 P.M. clearing, the total was 1.2 inches from that part of the event.  The next snowboard clearing that I could have done last night was at 11:00 P.M., and I decided that I wouldn’t worry about it since that 0.4 inches of snow was so light and airy that it would have easily been less than 0.01 inches of liquid.  This morning I woke up to a nice stack of fluff on the snowboard, which measured in at 3.9 inches, and there was moderate to heavy snowfall in the air comprised of big, fat flakes.  It certainly looks like we are getting in on some upslope snowfall, and the radar returns look reasonably strong for now.  For the past week it’s felt like we’ve had to scratch and claw our way past the 80-inch seasonal snowfall accumulation mark down here in the valley, but today’s clipper/upslope really helped us get past that point.  We are still behind last year at this point however, as my records indicate that we were at 96.6 inches of snowfall on 1/3/08 after back to back storms of 7.5 inches (12/31/07) and 10.6 inches (1/1/08-1/2/08).  I checked in on Bolton Valley’s snow report this morning, and as of 6:40 A.M. the mountain had a similar accumulation to us, reporting 4 new inches, but they were receiving big fat flakes as well so I suspect their total will increase.  I’d definitely put our snowfall in the heavy category at this point, since the huge flakes have already added another 1.3 inches on the snowboard as of 7:00 A.M.  I was a bit late clearing the snowboard (6:15 A.M. – 6:30 A.M. range), so we’re actually running somewhere in the 1-3 inch/hr range for snow right now.

 

J.Spin

 

----------

 

Summary:  8.6” storm total in Waterbury (495’) as of 2:00 P.M. EST

 

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009:  2:00 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT

 

New Snow: 4.0 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.16 inches

Snow/Water Ratio: 25.0

Snow Density:  4.0% H2O

Temperature:  22.3 F

Humidity:  49%

Dew Point:  3.9 F

Barometer:  29.94 in. Hg

Wind:  ~5 MPH

Sky:  Clear

Storm snow total:  8.6 inches

Storm liquid equivalent total:  0.29 inches

Current snow at the stake:  14 inches

Season snowfall total:  86.8 inches

 

The rate of snowfall was pretty heavy down here in the valley this morning, and before we headed up to the mountain for some skiing, I took a few intermediate depth measurements off the snowboard to get an idea of just how hard it was falling.  I didn’t get any timed measurements during the 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M. period, but based on rough estimates off the snowboard, the snowfall was running in the 2-3”/hr range at that point.  Part of the “intensity” lies in the fact that it was upslope-style snowfall with huge, loft-building flakes.  The snowfall was certainly slowing down after 7:00 A.M., but here are some of the numbers:

 

7:00 A.M., 1.3” on snowboard

7:30 A.M., 2.2” on snowboard, 1.8”/hr

8:00 A.M., 2.7” on snowboard, 1.0”/hr

8:30 A.M., 3.2” on snowboard, 1.0”/hr

 

We headed up to Bolton Valley for some skiing this morning, and spent most of our time on the lower mountain (elevation range ~2,100’ – 2,500’).  The temperature was around 15 F, and there was wind in the 15-20 MPH range.  The wind was still present when we left around 1:00 P.M., but much less consistent.  In terms of accumulations, the mountain definitely got more than we did; they were reporting about a foot overnight, and that seemed pretty accurate.  I probed around with my measurement pole and got consistent 12-14” depth readings for new snow at the top of the main terrain park (elevation ~2,400’) although I also got readings as low as 8” in other areas, so I’d summarize as 8-14” new snow on the lower mountain, probably due to a little redistribution by the wind.  The main face of the upper mountain actually didn’t accumulate much if any snow because of stronger winds up there, so we found that the lower mountain was the place to be.  Ty and I rode the Vista Quad with a couple that lives up in one of the neighborhoods near the base of the resort, and they said that their neighbor had measured 9-10 inches of new snow at that elevation.  That seems pretty consistent with what my data and the resort’s report indicate. Everything cleared out to blue skies as the morning wore on, so it looks like 8.6 inches will be where we end up for this event down here in the valley.

 

J.Spin

 

24 hour snow totals

 

Jay Peak:  2 inches (7:45 A.M.)

Smuggler’s Notch:  10 inches (4:23 P.M.)

Stowe:  5 inches (12:30 P.M.)

Bolton Valley:  12 inches (9:15 A.M.)

Mad River Glen:  6 inches (8:45 A.M.)

Sugarbush:  8 inches (1:50 P.M.)

Killington:  6 inches

Okemo:  2 inches (2:24 P.M.)

Bromley:  6 inches (7:00 A.M.)

Magic Mountain:  3 inches

Stratton:  5 inches (2:46 P.M.)

Mount Snow:  5 inches

 

 

-------

 

On January 3rd, 2009 at 4:04 P.M., Powderfreak wrote:

 

“Good stuff, Jay!”

 

Thanks Scott, the BTV NWS did suggest the possibility of some upslope (at one time in their point forecast they had us down for <1" from the WAA, 2-4" overnight and then another 2-4" the next day) so we did come in near the top of their range, but I figured the higher end of those totals would be in the mountains.  So, the snow was a "partial" surprise, with some pretty intense snowfall rates.  I suspected that all of theNorthern Vermontupslope zones were getting crushed with what we picked up down here in the valley, but the mountain accumulations were somewhat variable.  Here's a quick north to south list I put together from the 24-hour totals that some of the Vermont ski areas are reporting:

 

Jay Peak:  2 inches (7:45 A.M.)

Smuggler’s Notch:  10 inches (4:23 P.M.)

Stowe:  5 inches (12:30 P.M.)

Bolton Valley:  12 inches (9:15 A.M.)

Mad River Glen:  6 inches (8:45 A.M.)

Sugarbush:  8 inches (1:50 P.M.)

Killington:  6 inches

Okemo:  2 inches (2:24 P.M.)

Bromley:  6 inches (7:00 A.M.)

Magic Mountain:  3 inches

Stratton:  5 inches (2:46 P.M.)

Mount Snow:  5 inches

 

-J

 

--------------------

 

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

 

Here’s an update on the conditions we found at Bolton Valley yesterday.  When I saw how much upslope snow was falling at the house in the morning, I knew I had to get E and the boys up and out for some powder, even if the temperatures were going to be a bit brisk.  We left the house with a valley temperature of 20 F, and up in the village at around 9:00 A.M. the temperature was 15 F.  There was some wind too, probably 15-20 MPH at times, but fortunately no wind hold on the lifts.  With the wind we decided to stay on the lower mountain, and first kicked off a couple of fun runs in the terrain park areas.  My measurements revealed between 12 and 14 inches at the ~2,400’ level, and the powder skiing was excellent.  The mountain was eventually reporting 10-12 inches of new snow, and I found about 8-14 inches checking various spots around the lower mountain.  The snow was quite dry, in the ~4% H2O range based on my valley measurements, and it skied great all over the lower mountain, which hadn’t been affected by much wind.  It was fun to see Ty screaming down the terrain park slopes with the powder billowing up over his waist, and even Dylan went fast enough in a few spots to get the snow flying.  We took a break after a couple of runs, and then went out for some more on the Mid Mountain Lift.  The Enchanted Forest area had nice powder, but you still had to watch out for some items like stumps and sticks in a few spots.  After a few more runs Dylan went inside with E, and Ty and I took a trip up the Vista Quad to the summit.  I was mostly interested in getting over to the Cobrass Lane/Five Corners area to check out the powder, and didn’t expect too much out of the higher elevations in terms of snow quality (even from the lower mountain you could see that the Show Off area had been blown nearly clean of the new snow).  Once we got up at the Vista Summit, we were glad we’d spent the morning on the lower mountain because the winds were much stronger and they had really ripped the powder away from the steep trails on the upper half of the mountain.  Cobrass had some good snow after the first steep pitch, which was wind scoured but surprisingly had better snow than when Ty and I last skied it in mid to late December.  The skies cleared out to blue after about mid morning, so it was a pretty nice day, but not quite up to the morning Ty and I had on December 20th.  The powder was similarly dry this time around, and it was a bit deeper, but December 20th was 5 degrees F warmer and also had the sun but no wind, so it edged out today by a bit.  A few shots from the day are below.  I also took a look at what some of the Vermont resorts were reporting for 24-hour accumulations yesterday, here’s the list from north to south along the spine:

 

Jay Peak:  2 inches (7:45 A.M.)

Smuggler’s Notch:  10 inches (4:23 P.M.)

Stowe:  5 inches (12:30 P.M.)

Bolton Valley:  12 inches (9:15 A.M.)

Mad River Glen:  6 inches (8:45 A.M.)

Sugarbush:  8 inches (1:50 P.M.)

Killington:  6 inches

Okemo:  2 inches (2:24 P.M.)

Bromley:  6 inches (7:00 A.M.)

Magic Mountain:  3 inches

Stratton:  5 inches (2:46 P.M.)

Mount Snow:  5 inches

 

I was a bit surprised at Stowe’s lower accumulation since it is between Smugg’s and Bolton, but Scott filled me in over at EasternUSwx.com and indicated that it was likely in the same range and the number on the website was a tad low.  Based on Dylan Gamache’s Stowe pictures from yesterday, it certainly looks like they got plenty of snow.

 

J.Spin