Based on earlier forecasts, this week’s Monday/Tuesday period had shown promise for some snow, so I’d mentally penciled it in as something to watch. It didn’t look like anything too outrageous, but with the way this March has been unusually warm and dry, it would have to suffice. However, as time went on, the idea of a snow event seemed to diminish, and even the Burlington NWS was making little mention of snow as of Monday. It wasn’t until Monday evening at some point between 10 and 11 P.M. when I realized that the snow might actually be coming. I happened to look outside before heading off to bed, and saw that we were receiving a steady, moderate rain. More importantly though, I noticed that big fat snowflakes were starting to mix in with the rain. I checked the outdoor temperature, which indicated that we were at 35.8 F. That certainly wasn’t all that cold for accumulating snow, but if snow was already mixing in all the way down to our location in the
In the morning I awoke and wondered if we were in for another valley surprise like we’d had back on the 22nd, where we ended up getting 4.7 inches of snow at the house. I lay there and listened to what I could hear. The sounds from outside didn’t seem too muffled, so it didn’t appear as though we’d had too big a dump in the valley. Eventually I had to get up and have a look. I could see that the ground was white, even beyond the areas where the spring snowpack was holding on. I could also see that the new accumulation of snow was quite wet, but at least we’d picked up something. At 6:00 A.M. I went out and made some snowfall observations:
Summary: 0.8” snow total in
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009: 6:00 A.M. update from Waterbury, VT
New Snow: 0.6 inches
Liquid Equivalent: 0.10 inches
Snow/Water Ratio: 6.0
Snow Density: 16.7%
Temperature: 33.6 F
Dew Point: 32.9 F
Barometer: 30.21 in. Hg
Sky: Light/Moderate Snow
Storm snow total: 0.6 inches
Storm liquid equivalent total: 0.10 inches
Current snow at the stake: <1 inch
Season snowfall total: 178.4 inches
“I happened to take a look outside last night between 10:00 and 11:00 P.M. and noticed that it was raining moderately, but snow was starting to mix in even down at this elevation. It was in the mid 30s F at the time, but I figured if the temperature kept coming down there might be some accumulation. That was the case this morning as the whole yard has a new white coating instead of the just the leftover spring snow areas. Mt. Washington picked up 5 inches of snow in the past 24 hours, but I haven’t seen any reports out of the local
The snowfall slowed down by around 7:00 A.M., and before leaving the house I gave the snowboard one last check to reveal that we were still at 0.8 inches of snow accumulation. Based on the forecast for warm temperatures, I suspected that’s all we’d be able to accumulate in the valley. Unfortunately I still had no idea what had gone on in the higher elevations, but if it was snowing all the way down to the house elevation, I was certainly going to stop in at the mountain and see what they’d picked up. The snow accumulations tapered off a bit as I headed west a few miles to the Bolton Valley access road, so that at the base of the road (340’) there was just an irregular coating of snow on parts of the ground and nothing on the trees. Any decrease in new snow accumulation from the house elevation to the base of the access road hadn’t been that obvious over the course of a few miles, but I was about to get a dramatic presentation of just where the snow line was located for this storm. The only mildly snowy scene I’d encountered at the base of the access road was instantly transformed into a winter wonderland as soon as I crested the road’s first steep pitch and hit an elevation of roughly 500’. My surroundings immediately became white, as the trees, the ground, and every other object was well covered with fresh snow. It was one of the more tight snow lines I’ve seen recently. Consistent with that tight snow line, the depths of the new snow increased rapidly as I went up in elevation. I initially wasn’t sure how much snow there would be up high, but as I started seeing cars come down the access road with what looked like a half foot of snow on them, I figured that the mountain had received a good shot of the white stuff. Seeing how elevation dependent the snowfall was, I drove right past the Timberline Base (elevation ~1,500’) and up to the main mountain.
It was 29 F when I arrived up at the
Up around 2,800’ after I’d ascended the
I wasn’t initially sure if I was going to stick around for any lift-served skiing, but that run had definitely sealed the deal. I still had a few minutes before the Vista Quad started loading, so I hung out in the lift queue… which consisted of me. I gave myself cuts because I didn’t want to be one of those “No friends on a powder day” sorts. One of the patrollers asked me what the snow was like, and I gave him the rundown on how it was in the league of Sierra cement, providing a nice covering to the slopes. He was glad to hear that the snow had dried out, because he said that on Monday afternoon it had been wet and slow. I was surprised to hear that it had already been snowing at the end of the day on Monday. Ultimately a snowboarder showed up at the lift and I let her have fist chair as we were loading. Unfortunately, there was some rime ice on the safety bar of her chair and she barely got on before the bar closed down on her. Noticing this, I was wary of my own chair, and barely had time to jump out of the way as my bar closed down as the chair rounded the bull wheel. The operators stopped the lift and then ran it slowly so they could break off enough rime before loading chairs. Fortunately, they were quickly away from the most coated chairs (which had presumably sat at the top of the mountain overnight) and we were back to full speed.
I opted to check out Spillway for my next run. I could see that it was bit wind scoured at the top, but it would connect me over to Show Off, which looked really nice. I was enjoying some nice turns at the bottom of the Spillway Chute when I ran into patroller Quinn on his snowmobile at
I headed out after that run, and my car thermometer indicated that the temperature in the village was 31 F, rising to about 34 F at the bottom of the access road. As I cruised along through the
Later in the afternoon I finally had a few minutes to check on the local snow totals for the event, and as the evening’s radar had suggested, the accumulations seemed to peak in the Bolton/Mansfield/Smugg’s area and fell off to the north and south. Here are the reported accumulations in the usual north to south order:
Mad River: 3”
With 8 fairly dense inches of snow picked up at
On the way home from Burlington in the afternoon, the sun had come out in some areas and there were some nice views as I traveled westward through the Winooski Valley. The area between Richmond and Jonesville was particularly nice with the way it was lit up.
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