Bolton Valley, VT 28MAR2008


Pictures and data plots are embedded in this report, and also available at:


After the March 19th 21st storm cycle that dropped 10.2 inches of snow at our house, it was a week before we saw another accumulating snowfall event in the valley.  The next storm appeared to be more focused to the south of our area, so we would be on the fringe of the snowfall and only likely to get in on modest accumulations.  Snowfall started in Waterbury at some point early on Friday morning, and at 6:00 A.M. I recorded my first observations for the event:


Friday, March 28th, 2008:  6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT


New Snow: 1.1 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.06 inches

Ratio:  18.3 to 1

Snow Density:  5.5% H2O

Temperature:  31.1 F

Humidity:  94%

Barometer:  30.03 in Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Light Snow

Cumulative storm snow total:  1.1 inches

Cumulative storm liquid total:  0.06 inches

Current snow at the stake:  24 inches

Season snowfall total:  196.6 inches


Im not sure what time our snowfall started here in Waterbury, but its been snowing lightly since I first looked outside at around 4:30 A.M.  The Burlington NWS has us under a winter weather advisory for this event, with accumulations expected to be in the 1 to 4-inch range for the Addison/Washington/Orange county areas.  Our county (Washington) looks to be about as far north as the NWS has extended any sort of advisories around here, and from the standard radar we look to be near the northern fringe of the precipitation shield.  However, on the composite radar there are echoes visible all the way up to the international border.


The snowfall had actually tapered off for a while after my 6:00 A.M. snowboard clearing, so we only had an additional 0.1 inches on the snowboard when I left the house at around 7:15 A.M.  Even though the total valley accumulation from the event was still small at just 1.2 inches, I had some time and wanted to get in a quick workout, so I decided to head up to the mountain for a skin and ski.  I was happy to see that light snowfall had resumed when I was leaving, and even at our location near the bottom of the valley (495), the temperature was still below freezing at 31.3 F.  Based on the temperature and the way the storm was behaving, I didnt suspect the snowfall accumulations would be extremely elevation dependent in our neck of the woods, so I opted for some lower-elevation skiing at Boltons Timberline area.


At the Timberline base area (1,550) I found new snow accumulations of about an inch, roughly on par with what Id found down at the house.  It was snowing lightly, with fairly small flakes in the 2-3 mm range.  I didnt have a thermometer handy, but Id say the temperature was a bit below freezing.  It was also dead calm.  I skinned over to Twice as Nice, found a skin track ascending the climbers left of the trail, and merged onto that.  The base snow on the trail was a bit crusty, presumably from spring cycling over the previous couple of days.  However, when I checked on the snow surface off to the side of the trail, I found that the snow wasnt actually all that hard; it had more of a Styrofoam quality to it.


When I reached the Timberline mid station elevation (~2,250), I took a quick water/photo break.  Id say the intensity of the snowfall had jumped up to borderline moderate at that point, based on visual observation, but also because my camera and other equipment picked up a good coating of snow in just the 5 to 10 minutes I hung out there.  I finished my ascent up Brandy Wine and Intro, and at the Timberline summit (~2,500) I found that about 2 inches of snow had accumulated.  I bet some of the additional snow depth was due to elevation, although there had definitely been some accumulation during the ~25 minutes of my ascent.  I enjoyed the views allowed by the modest snowfall, and the lack of substantial wind also helped to keep the Timberline summit area fairly comfortable.







With only a couple inches of new snow, I opted for a change of pace from my more typical Timberline descents and decided to ski down the combination of Villager and Timberline Run.  It was very nice skiing on a couple inches of fresh over groomed, although it certainly wasnt bottomless.  Only when I was gliding through the flatter sections would I avoid contact with the subsurface.  I engaged in some very nice carving though; the deserted trails made for a fun canvas.  Once I had descended back to the car, I found that my Avocet altimeter had recorded 1,030 of descent and my Suunto had recorded 1,043 of descent for a difference of 1.3%.  Compared to the previous Friday when there were 1 to 2 feet of snow instead of 1 to 2 inches, it was a much mellower experience in terms of both the weather and the skiing, but it was a great way to start the day.







I left the mountain at around 9:00 A.M. to light snow, which continued all the way into Burlington.  The snow appeared to be accumulating just about everywhere until Burlington proper, where temperatures must have been more marginal.  It was interesting to note that the snowflakes in Burlington were notably larger (1-2 cm) than what Id seen anywhere else during the morning.  An hour after Id arrived in Burlington, the large flakes were still falling, but accumulations remained minimal with just a coating appearing on the grassy surfaces.  The mountains continued to accumulate snow with their colder temperatures, so I sent in a midday update to with some additional observations and ski area accumulations.  In the afternoon the snowfall really intensified and snow started to accumulate in the valleys.  When I got home, I found that wed acquired another couple of inches in Waterbury:


Friday, March 28th, 2008:  5:30 P.M. update from Waterbury, VT


New Snow: 2.2 inches

Liquid Equivalent:  0.20 inches

Ratio:  11.0 to 1

Snow Density:  9.1% H2O

Temperature:  32.4 F

Humidity:  84%

Barometer:  30.06 in Hg

Wind:  Calm

Sky:  Light Snow

Cumulative storm snow total:  3.3 inches

Cumulative storm liquid total:  0.26 inches

Current snow at the stake:  26 inches

Season snowfall total:  198.8 inches


It snowed much of the day in Burlington, and at times it looked to be coming down with moderate intensity.  However, presumably because of the late March sun and/or marginal temperatures, it didnt start accumulating until later in the afternoon when the snowfall intensified further.  At one point, a blast of 30-35 db yellow and orange echoes came through in a band visible on the composite radar.  It was really snowing hard with huge flakes at that point (~3:00 3:45 P.M.), and I know that helped with the accumulation.  I was happy to see that intense band heading off in the Mt. Mansfield/Bolton area, and it looked like it would catch our house in Waterbury as well.  I left Burlington around 4:00 P.M. and the snow had lightened up the sky was also getting notably lighter.  But, the Burlington area had definitely accumulated a couple of inches by that point, especially on surfaces like old snow.  My car had a wet/fluffy inch on it on the side that was out of the sun, yet the other side was completely melted.  There was only light snowfall through Williston and Richmond, although I could see that those areas had easily picked up an inch or two of fresh snow that covered up any bare ground.  After I passed through Richmond, I looked ahead up the Winooski Valley and I could see that the sky there was clogged with white a few miles ahead.  It really looked like Id be heading into more intense snowfall within the next few minutes.  Sure enough, just about the time I hit Jonesville, I got into that white, and it was moderately heavy snowfall.  The temperatures were still only around the freezing mark, so while the moderate snowfall was certainly accumulating, it wasnt accumulating to the degree that it might have earlier in the season.  My thermometer at the house indicates that we hit a high temperature of 37.8 F here, so we only picked up 2.2 inches of snow during the day.  Weve had fairly light snowfall this evening, but recently we had another decent round of snow come through and theres an additional 0.7 inches on the snowboard.  That means were really knocking on the door to 200 inches of accumulation for the season.  The snowfall is slowing down here now however, so Im not sure if well be able reach that mark with this event.  Below Ive added the running storm totals Ive seen for some of the Vermont resorts (listed north to south) P.M. updates are indicated.  Stratton was up to 10 inches of accumulation as of their afternoon update.


Jay Peak:  3 inches (2:46 P.M.)

Burke:  2 inches (2:39 P.M.)

Smugglers Notch:  5 inches (4:12 P.M.)

Stowe:  2 inches

Bolton Valley:  4 inches (12:00 P.M.)

Mad River Glen:  3 inches (3:30 P.M.)

Sugarbush:  5 inches (2:15 P.M.)

Middlebury:  3 inches

Suicide Six:  8 inches (3:00 P.M.)

Pico:  8 inches (4:00 P.M.)

Killington:  8 inches (4:00 P.M.)

Ascutney:  4 inches

Okemo:  6 inches (3:34 P.M.)

Bromley:  4 inches

Magic Mountain:  5 inches

Stratton:  10 inches (2:36 P.M.)

Mount Snow:  8 inches


So as of Friday afternoon, some of the southern Vermont areas were approaching the one foot accumulation mark, while the more northern areas were running at about half that amount.  But, everyone in the state seemed to have gotten in on some snow, so it bode well for the slope conditions during the upcoming weekend.


Pictures and data plots are also available at:




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