“I’m not sure of the temperature, but it was raining lightly when I left Burlington around 5:00 P.M. At the Waterbury Park and Ride, the precipitation looked like a mixture of rain and snow, and the only accumulations I saw were a fairly thin coating of slush on the cars. True to form though, once I hit the Cider House a couple miles west toward the spine, I started seeing accumulations of snow on the grass, and at the house I found 0.3” of slushy snow on the snowboard and a temperature of 33.3 F. The snow picked up for a bit after the 6:00 P.M. board clearing, and we received another tenth of an inch of snow, but the snowfall has tapered off since then and it’s very light now. It is nice to have the first accumulation of December in the books though, hopefully there will be plenty more to come.” Some details from the 6:00 P.M. observations are below:
New Snow: 0.3 inches
New Liquid: 0.06 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 5.0
Snow Density: 20.0% H2O
Temperature: 33.3 F
Sky: Light Snow (1-2 mm flakes)
Snow at the stake: Trace
Our first big Northern Vermont storm of the season came in with a nice thump of snow during the overnight hours, and I awoke to find 7.1 inches of moderately dense snow on the snowboard for my 6:00 A.M. report to CoCoRaHS. Later in the morning the National Weather Service Office in Burlington put out a map showing the overnight snow totals, but the snow was still coming down. Snow continued to fall at the house all morning, and while it gradually tapered to very light snow, we picked up a few more inches to bring us into double digits for the storm total.
We played out in the snow for a while with the boys, and then in the mid afternoon I had to decide if I wanted to get out and make some turns in the new snow. Ideally I was looking for a place where man-made snow had been put down as a base, but unfortunately most of the mountains that had been making snow were actually opening for lift-served skiing. I thought about Sugarbush, since they aren’t opening until tomorrow, but they’ve been a bit testy with people earning turns in recent years and I didn’t want to drive over just to get turned away.
I eventually decided that I’d pop up to Bolton and see how the snow looked. I wasn’t expecting much in terms of skiing without a prior base, but perhaps I’d be pleasantly surprised. The temperature had gone a couple degrees above freezing at our house (elevation 495’), so the snow had been falling off the trees and the snow in the yard had also settled a bit. As Powderfreak had mentioned, the snow accumulations really did fall off as I headed a couple of miles west past the Waterbury/Bolton line. At the base of the Bolton Valley Access Road (340’) it was really amazing, there were just a couple inches of snow on the ground from the storm. It had me really worried about what went on up at the mountain, but fortunately the snow depths began to increase as I climbed in elevation as usual. Up at around 1,000’ near the Bolton Valley Resort sign, it looked like there were about 4 inches on the ground, and by the time I reached the Timberline base at 1,500’ it was notably deeper. I stopped in near the lodge and did a quick measurement with my pole to reveal 8.5 inches of settled snow. I saw one guy putting his skins on his skis for a tour, and noticed a couple of other cars that might have belonged to skiers, but I decided to head up to the main base area and see if things got a bit deeper. While at the base of the access road the temperature had been a couple degrees above freezing just like at our house, it dropped to around the freezing mark by the Timberline base, and it was a couple degrees below freezing up at the village (2,100’). As soon as I parked the car I checked the snow depth there, and found that it was about 10 inches. To read the full report and check out the rest of the pictures, head to the Bolton Valley trip report from today.
While the Northeast has already had a couple of big, snow-producing synoptic storms so far this season (one on October 27th, and another on October 29th), for Northern Vermont these events were fairly minor because the area was really on the fringe of the precipitation. A storm is developing now however, which is expected to bring more substantial accumulations to the northern part of the state. This storm is expected to head into the Ohio Valley later today, and then track east across Southern New England overnight. This storm may have some mixed precipitation with it, but the current forecasts do not indicated much mixing in the northern areas, and the chance is there for greater than 6 inches of snowfall. For a few more details, part of my morning report to the New England Regional Forum at American Weather is added below:
It was 17.6F and dropping when I left the house this morning around 6:00 AM, so this will certainly come in as the coldest morning of the season at our location thus far. I flipped on The Weather Channel before I left the house, and was surprised to see that the local forecast called for 6 to 10 inches at the Winter Weather Advisory level, but after reading the BTV forecast discussion, they spoke of the potential for mixing keeping totals down. The current point and click for our area down in the valley calls for 4 to 9 inches of snow, but doesn’t mention any mixing at this point.
Today: Sunny, with a high near 34. Calm wind.
Tonight: Snow, mainly after 1am. Low around 24. South wind at 6 mph becoming north. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Wednesday: Snow, mainly before 4pm. High near 35. North wind between 3 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Wednesday Night: A chance of snow showers, mainly before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. North wind around 6 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
I didn’t really see much of a bump in the point forecasts for the local mountains, so we’ll have to see if that gets refined for the higher elevations. I’ve added the projected snow accumulations map from National Weather Service Office in Burlington below:
Since Killington had already opened for lift-served skiing, we decided that Pico would be a much mellower option for earned turns, with similarly great snow. Despite many days of skiing at Killington in the past, nobody in the family had actually ever skied Pico, but it’s hard not to admire the way 3,967’ Pico Peak towers well above Sherburne Pass on Route 4. Since the base area of Pico sits at an elevation of ~2,000’, it’s got plenty of elevation to help keep the snow dry if lower elevation temperatures are above freezing.
E hosted a Halloween pumpkin-carving party last night, but I still had plenty of time after clean up to prep some of the gear and put the skins on the skis so that we’d be able to save time this morning. After a hearty breakfast to ensure that the boys were charged up for the mountain ascent, they got dressed very quickly and headed out to play in the snow while we got everything together for the trip. I recorded the final couple of tenths of an inch of snow that had accumulated on our snowboard from the morning’s light snow, and we were on our way southward. To read the details about the skiing and see all the pictures, head to the full report from Pico on October 30th, 2011.
I was reading the Northern New England Thread on the New England Regional Forum at American Weather, and just got the word that Mt. Mansfield received its first accumulating snow of the season. Thanks to Powderfreak for passing along the message, and including a picture of the snow at the Mt. Mansfield Stake, which I’ve included here. As far as I’m aware, this is the first accumulating snow in the Green Mountains of Vermont this season due to the fairly warm October. It does look like the weather is going to cool down this coming week, so there will likely be more chances for snow in the high country. We’ll keep our eyes on the mountains, weather forecasts, and weather boards to see if any of the white stuff shows up in the near future, but as we approach November, the season of snow and skiing is certainly close at hand.