There are only a couple of data-related images with this report, which can be accessed through the link below:
After slowing down somewhat for the first part of January, our local snowfall began to pick up again as we entered the last half of the month. A storm on Monday, January 14th had dropped about a half foot of snow on the local mountains, and I’d popped up to
Friday, January 18th, 2008: 6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT.
New Snow: 1.7 inches
Temperature: 29.1 F
Barometer: 29.91 in Hg
Sky: Heavy Snow
Cumulative storm total: 1.7 inches
Current snow at the stake: 11 inches
Season snowfall total: 104.1 inches
“Although this isn’t expected to be a very big snowfall event in this area (the Burlington NWS forecast has had us in the 2 to 5 inch range for the past couple of days), I was very impressed with the intensity of the snowfall I saw when I made my 6:00 A.M. observations at the house this morning. I’d probably put the snowfall as borderline S+ by feel and estimated visibility distance. I’ll have to pull out my GPS and set up some visibility distance benchmarks at some point to be more certain about that. But, it was the kind of snowfall that falls so fast that clearing the snowboard evenly with my squeegee feels like a bit of a challenge – by the time you clear one section, notable blobs of snow have already formed in spots that were just cleared. On that note, the snowfall was an interesting mix of both large and small flakes. The majority of the precipitation was comprised of fairly large (4 to 5 mm) flakes, but there were also some small, granular flakes in there that became more obvious as I heard them on the windshield of my car. It would have been fun to monitor the rate of that heavy snowfall for a little while using the snowboard, but unfortunately I won’t be able to provide another update until later this evening. Arriving in
It continued to snow lightly in the valley throughout the day, and I took another snowfall reading off our snowboard later in the evening:
Friday, January 18th, 2008: 10:30 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT.
New Snow: 1.2 inches
Temperature: 26.2 F
Barometer: 30.06 in Hg
Sky: Partly Cloudy
Cumulative storm total: 2.9 inches
Current snow at the stake: 12 inches
Season snowfall total: 105.3 inches
“There were 1.2 additional inches of snow on the snowboard when I got home this evening. Actually, I suspect I would have measured more than that if I’d been at the house during the day, because the snow had clearly formed some crust and consolidated at some point, and the thermometer below the snowboard even recorded a high temperature of 41.7 F. It seems like the temperature warmed up in the afternoon when the sun came out, because I haven’t heard any reports of mixed precipitation around here. So, we may have had snowfall somewhere in the 3 to 5 inch range before consolidation, but this event will go down in the books with 2.9 inches of new snow.”
The next morning, we decided to head up to
As expected, the mountains had accumulated a borderline moderate dump of snow from the Friday event, with
Dylan and I headed up to the mountain around midday, and managed to get a good parking spot from a car that happened to be leaving. I hadn’t driven around the parking lots much, but it appeared as though they were rather full with all the holiday visitors. The sky that had been clear and blue all morning was beginning to haze over in association with the next weather event. The temperatures were still quite nice, running in the 20s F when we arrived, and aside from a lineup at the Snowflake lift that appeared to be composed of mostly ski school participants, we didn’t see any notable lift queues. Dylan and I kicked things off with a ride on the Wilderness Lift, and at first glance I thought the snow conditions looked rather blasé. I think that impression came from the fact that in most places I could see from the lift, there wasn’t much of the snowfall remaining on the trees. I was also wondering what the powder was going to be like on the mountain based on my observations from down at our house in
We unloaded at the Wilderness mid station (~2,770’) and headed off toward Lower Crossover and
At the end of that descent we prepared for our next run by heading to the base of the Vista Quad, where about eight people were queued up in front of us. From what we saw of the steeper terrain, it sounded like it was still somewhat scratchy compared to the lower-angle terrain that we’d been skiing. The foot or so of snow we’d received over the old base had improved conditions a lot, but the snow hadn’t been very dense, and a foot of snow can only do so much for steep terrain. A good resurfacing storm was needed to get the steeps back in prime shape. Up near the Vista Summit with its increased wind and traffic, even
Dylan made good use of the fluff at times when I’d slacken the leash, let him control his own destiny, and he’d frequently end up in a heap of powder off the side of the trail. That was a notable change from the previous weekend when all the off-piste snow was glazed over. I don’t recall any dramatic advances in Dylan’s skiing during that outing, although he had fun and continued on his gradual trend of improvement with the aid of the leash. We were getting close to 2,000’ of vertical by the end of the second run, certainly a point where Dylan would have taken a break, but it felt like he’d done enough work so we just called it a day. The Avocet had recorded 1,775’ of descent, and the Suunto had recorded 1,755’ of descent for a difference of 1.1%.
The sky had continued to thicken with clouds while we were on the mountain, and it even snowed lightly for a bit with some big (~1 cm) lazy flakes coming down. With plans to hit the back yard backcountry around the house the following day, I stopped off at a similar elevation during my descent of the access road to check on the snow quality. I pulled into the Ponds area (elevation ~1,500’) across from Timberline, and found about 4 inches of powder atop the old surface there. Although the powder at that elevation was more dense than what I’d found higher up on the mountain in my previous checks, there wasn’t any crust from sun or warming. That bode well for the following day’s tour, especially with some additional fluff on the way that night. While I was in the Ponds area, I had also noticed that the Timberline parking lot looked pretty full, so that likely spoke of good business for the resort at the start of the holiday weekend.
I didn’t have a chance to pull out my camera during our short outing, so my images associated with this report just consist of the screen shot I grabbed of
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