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To head right to the pictures and data from the day, go to:

 

http://www.jandeproductions.com/2006/27DEC06.html

 

This report starts off with a weather update, and I’ve pasted in the storm observations I made to easternuswx.com, along with a weather table and chart that you can see at the web page with the ski pictures.

 

 

Weather update 26DEC2006 – P.M.

 

We made our trip back from Norwell, MA to Waterbury VT this afternoon/evening.  We saw the first snow on the ground in Warner, NH at an elevation of ~623 feet.  It was hard to believe it could be snowing at our house in Waterbury as we left the Boston area with temperatures above 50 degrees F.  So, to pass the time, I recorded some weather observations during our drive home to document the environmental transformation.  I’ve created a table of recorded observations and a plot of some of the data.

 

When we got to our place in Waterbury (elevation 495’) at around 6:15 P.M., it was 34 degrees F and snowing lightly.  Unfortunately, since I wasn’t around at the house yesterday, I couldn’t track the snowfall as closely as I would have liked.  There’s only ½ inch of accumulation at this point.  This was our 5th snowfall event at the house this season, and brings our seasonal total snowfall to 13.0 inches.

 

The higher elevations in Vermont seemed to have the most accumulated snow on our route (see table).  We were estimating accumulations as best we could out the window at highway speed, and we were conservative with the higher totals (> 2 inches) we observed, so take those as minimum values.  The highest snowfall total I’ve seen reported in this area outside the ski resorts is 6.0 inches in Brookfield, VT (about three towns south of us in Orange County) through the NWS hydrological reports.  That was this morning, so I don’t know if they picked up any additional snow today.  As far as the ski areas go, the highest total I saw was that Sugarbush has picked up about 7 inches.

 

 

Trip Report – Wednesday 27DEC2006

 

With the new snow, the family headed up to Bolton on Wednesday for some holiday skiing.  The Vista Quad is now open with skiing from the top of the resort, and Ty was very excited to try out the quad and have the whole family ride a lift together.  Dylan got to try out his new ski helmet and mittens, and he’s quite a sight (big ‘ol helmet on a small body).  We were hoping Dylan would remember the fun he’d had from his last time out on skis and skip the point where he complains about wearing certain items of winter clothing, but we had no such luck.  He made the ride up the quad with no mittens, and we had to get him to keep his hands inside the sleeves of his jacket.  He did get his skis on with no complaints this time at least.

 

Once we started skiing, we got Dylan to put his mittens on, but he still complained whenever we stopped on the trail. He rode down between my legs, and I tried to keep him moving and happy as much as possible.  Unfortunately, the route we took from the top (Sherman’s Pass etc.) has a few flatter areas that Ty had to walk through, which slowed us all down.  And, independent Ty needed to walk all these areas by himself instead of getting help from Mom.  So, I was forced to stop and wait up for Ty and Mom in some areas, and Dylan didn’t like that.  Ty skied very well, although holiday skier traffic was heavy at times and I was worried about someone from the crowd running into him.

 

Ty discovered that he’s not a fan of snow guns.  While they didn’t have any guns going on the trails we were actually skiing, there were one or two on other trails that had some overspray onto Sherman’s Pass.  Ty especially didn’t like the noise, which is probably my least favorite part of the guns as well.  That’s why I like the fan-style snow guns much better.  The overall snow surface on the trails wasn’t too bad.  I’d describe it as average packed powder, except in high-traffic areas it had been worn down to the snowmaking base.  There was certainly more new snow as one went higher in elevation.  Down near the base there were just a couple of inches of dense snow, and near the top of the quad there was more (maybe 4 inches) and it was a bit drier.  This snow is overall much better for making a base than what we’ve been getting lately, and there were actually skiable lines opening up on natural trails.  While I was riding the quad, I saw an obvious filled-in line to the skier’s right on part of the lift line.  I’m sure people are starting to get out and explore some of the closed trails.

 

We had a substantial run all the way to the base, but I was concerned about Dylan being too cold after the long lift ride and the long trip down.  He wasn’t working as hard as the rest of us, and the air temperature was somewhere in the low 20s.  So, just to be on the safe side, I decided to head into the lodge with Dylan to make sure he was warm, while Ty and Mom headed up for another run.  It didn’t take any convincing to get Ty to go for one of the double chairlifts instead of the quad, since he wouldn’t have to hear any snow guns.  I checked Dylan out and he seemed to be warm enough, and since I had taken off all his outerwear, I decided we’d just stay in for lunch.  E and Ty joined us after their run, and we were ahead of the lunch hour so getting a table was easy.  All in all I’d say the crowds at the lifts felt much smaller than our previous trip, despite it being a holiday week.  There was never a line at the Snowflake Lift, and I think a lot of it had to do with the Vista Quad being open.

 

After lunch, we all went out again and hit the Snowflake Lift.  Hardly anyone was riding the Snowflake Lift, so the snow quality was good and fewer people were on the trials.  On our third run, we rode the Mid-Mountain lift, and that was the end of the ski day for Dylan.  He arrived at the top with Mom, and she couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t stand up.  His legs seemed very rubbery.  I turned around, looked at him, and realized he was sound asleep.  I joked that either he was really relaxed, or the hypothermia had gotten to him ;).  I skied down with him in my arms and he snoozed away with his head on my shoulder.  E then headed into the lodge with him so he could finish his nap.

 

From then on, it was time for Dad and Ty to explore.  We pretty much went back and forth between the Mid-Mountain and Snowflake Lifts, and I sniffed out a few powder stashes for Ty to try.  I was intrigued by an area off to the skier’s right of Sprig O’ Pine (possibly part of Deer Run).  I thought the area would be undiscovered, but when we finally got there, we found that it was actually open and a few other skiers had already been on it.  Still, it felt like it was almost our own stash.  I’m not sure if they actually blew snow there or if it was all natural, but it was nice.  Ty had some fun adventures along the edges and in the trees in the fresh snow.  The other main stash we frequented was below the quad, where we could keep a high traverse off the Mid Mountain lift and catch some of the untracked quad lift line.  We worked these areas pretty well, and combined with some carving and jumps on the trails, it made for quite an afternoon.  We’d been pretty busy, with the Avocet logging 11 runs for 4,275 feet of vertical and the Suunto S6 logging 11 runs for 4,199 feet of vertical.  The instruments’ performance was very tight on Wednesday with only 1.8% difference over all those runs.  I’ve written to Suunto through their web customer support about issues with recording the exact time at which altitudes are attained in the logbook, but the absolute vertical changes seem to be bang on relative to my Avocet.  It wasn’t easy to slow Ty down, but eventually I convinced him that we should go in and see how Mom and Dylan we doing.

 

We had a snack in the lodge and then decided to call it a day.  Before we headed home, Ty took a spin on his new snowshoes around the village, and seemed to get the hang of it immediately.  There wasn’t any really deep powder to play around in to test the snowshoes in terms of flotation, but he enjoyed making huge footprints and tracks in the few inches of powder that were there.  There are only a couple of inches of snow in our yard in Waterbury right now, but I bet Ty could have fun walking around and tracking it up.

 

Some pictures from the day and a couple of weather data plots can be found at the link below.  They are mostly of Ty, because Dylan fell asleep before I had a chance to get any pictures of him in his new gear.  We’ll have to get some shots of him on an upcoming trip.

 

http://www.jandeproductions.com/2006/27DEC06.html

 

J.Spin



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