December 30th, 2011 – Waterbury Winter Weather Event Updates



Friday, December 30th, 2011



Event totals: 0.5” Snow/0.01” L.E.

Light snow falling this morning, very fluffy stuff. Details from the 12:00 P.M. Waterbury observations are below:

New Snow: 0.5 inches
New Liquid: 0.01 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 50.0
Snow Density: 2.0% H2O
Temperature: 18.9 F
Sky: Light Snow (2-15 mm flakes)
Snow at the stake: 7.5 inches



View Postpowderfreak, on 30 December 2011 - 04:26 PM, said:

Yeah a little mix would be good though to add some more substance to the snowpack. We're getting there. Today was the first day I was making turns in the high elevation woods. 20-24" snow depth up high with the bottom foot being rock solid and the top foot fluffy. What I'd really like is a good ol' sleet storm and then this snow base would be bomber.


View Postadk, on 30 December 2011 - 05:29 PM, said:

I feel like - well until your post- that I'm the only person excited for some mixed precip. We need a base. 12 hours above freezing at marginal 34-36 degrees with some snow/sleet/zr mixed in is what we need to lock these 24 down. We've gotten "inches" but it's very fluffy and needs some liquid beef.


Not that an inch or two of liquid equivalent in the form of dense snow wouldn’t do it as well, but some mixed precipitation would be fine; adk mentioned how that would work out for the recent cutter system and it actually came together quite well.  There’s enough natural snow down now that it can even take on another round of rain for a net gain in the snowpack if need be (although it doesn’t sound like there are any big shots of rain in the forecast).  If the potential upslope comes to fruition, that would be excellent atop some additional consolidation.  Bolton has been opening various sections of natural terrain in the past couple of days; it’s just that not all of that terrain is to the point where it can hold up to a ton of traffic yet.  Fortunately, with only standard speed lifts, it’s not getting hit as hard as it might, but another inch or two of liquid equivalent will have most moderate angle terrain safely in the game.  Even down at Bolton’s main base elevation (2,100’) though, there’s a good 8 to 12 inches of powder atop the consolidated base, so some mighty fine skiing can be found on appropriate terrain right now.  I’ve added a couple shots from today at Bolton below:





Sunday, January 1st, 2012



View Postpowderfreak, on 1 January 2012 - 09:00 AM, said:

Snowfall totals at the ski area for December 2011 were lackluster compared to the 60+ inches we are used to at the summit. In general I expect between 60-80" during the main winter months up top, with the big months exceeding 100", and well, the poor months around 40".

1,550ft... 24"
3,600ft... 39"

Total snowfall so far during the operating season (11/23 onward) is just depressing...

1,550ft... 33"
3,600ft... 51"


Thanks for the update PF.  Now that December is complete, I put my numbers together as well – below is the chart of snowfall here for the past six Decembers since we moved to this location:



The average I have for December snowfall here is 41.6 ± 18.2 inches, and from the chart it is immediately apparent that December 2011 (red bar) is on the low side of the spectrum.  However, at least based on my current data set, the 24.7 inches of snow this December is actually within one standard deviation of the mean, so it’s not overly anomalous.  From the data one can also see that December 2011 beat out December 2006 (for which the snowfall is outside of one standard deviation).  So December 2006 is still in a class by itself.


Some other notes on the current snowfall up to this point in the season:


1)     Using my 2006-2011 data, the mean snowfall here through December 31st is 51.3 ± 25.3 inches, and for this season the snowfall for that period comes in at 37.3 inches (72.7% of average), which is well within one standard deviation.

2)     Thanks to these two recent storms, we have made a big jump in snowfall since Christmas, when we were only at 53.1% of average for snowfall.

3)     You might find it interesting to note that we are not only ahead of the 2006-2007 season for snowfall (21.9 inches of snow as of Dec 31) but we are even ahead of the 2009-2010 season for snowfall (35.7 inches of snow as of Dec 31).



With regard to #3 above, both of those seasons were poor for overall snowfall around here, but 2009-2010 (which I believe was best characterized by many big storms being suppressed?) was far worse than 2006-2007 (which one might characterize with warmth like this current season?).  Anyway, it’s like you’ve said before, I think we’d much rather take our chances being in the storm pipeline, even if it means some warmth, vs. missing out on the storms altogether.  With the Green Mountains around, they will usually find a way to make it snow if there is moisture around – I think the snowfall derived from the December 27th-28th cutter system is a testament to that.  I’ve added my Waterbury snowfall data table below for seasonal reference:






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