NOTE – Our Backcountry Updates are now located under the Stoke category of posts. Here are a few posts from the past. Thanks!
Our first snow-producing nor’easter of the season dumped 10-20″ of heavy snow over the highest mountain areas of the Northeast (VT’s Greens and NY’s Adirondacks, especially), and skiers have been out since Friday morning embracing the return Old Man Winter. Skiers flocked to more moderate terrain at ski areas well-maintained, high-elevation tree lines throughout the region. Little to no snow has fallen below 1600′. While the snow was especially smooth and creamy on Saturday morning, especially above 3000′, warmer temps are saturating the snowpack today before a good freeze Sunday night and Monday stiffens everything up. Warmer temps again by Tuesday should soften the snowpack and make for challenging turns where there is still sufficient snow at higher elevations. The snow should linger all week at the highest elevations, and the potential for more fresh snow exists later in the week. Please beware of running water, rocks of all sizes, stumps, hidden tree limbs, wet spots, water bars and service roads. Ski slow and make lots of turns…We’ve got a long winter ahead of us. Here’s a snap from Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 in Vermont’s Mad River Valley.
Spring conditions prevail across the northeast, but be on the lookout for a surprise snowfall or two, especially in the mountains, at any time through the middle of May. This is the last update for the 09-10 ski season – but the Backcountry Update will resume next fall 2010. Thanks for checking in!
Late March – Early Spring!
An early dose of spring, accompanied by some unusually sunny skies, has been a great grand finale for many skiers lately… An especially warm streak of weather is also on its way for the first few days of April, and will likely be a mortal blow to the snowpack on most lower elevation and sun-loving aspects. Still, a considerable snowpack should linger on the usual north and east-facing, mid-high elevation aspects…and with a little determination and good timing, these areas will continue to offer great skiing well into the month of April.
The odds are also in our favor for another big snowfall in the mountains of the northeast, before this season is wrapped up for good. In MAY! of 1997 it snowed 97″ on the higher summits of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and in April 2007 it snowed as easy 6-8′ above 2500′ in the Green Mountains of Vermont. So think snow! And enjoy the sunshine!
Early March – Huge Snowpack in the Mountains.
The “Snowicane” of Feb 2010 dropped 30-60″ of snow across most mountain areas in northern New England (and even greater amounts in some areas of the Catskills!), and has left us with our deepest snowpack of the season. While spring is working its way into the valleys, and taking much of our valley snowpack with it, our snowpack in the mountains remains at its peak for the season. A corn cycle is likely to be in effect this week with a string of warm, sunny days upon us. Look for softening snow on the most solar aspects, especially if the winds are light. Higher up in the alpine zones, conditions are variable, and there is still plenty of soft, carveable snow (cakey, chalky powder) out there on the shaded aspects, while solar aspects up high should also start to go through a subtle freez/thaw cycle… Getting into the best snow right now is all about being on the right slopes, at the right time…
Mid-February – MAJOR Snowstorm Imminent!
Forecasters are calling for one mother of a storm to wind up and potentially unleast several feet of snow over our northeastern mountains. Clear out your schedules. Do your chores. Rest up. And pray for snow.
Early February – Backcountry Powder is Back!
After a short-term warm up (aka January Thaw) and associated rainfall during the last week of January across the northeast, new snowfall totals exceeding 30″ in some areas of northern Vermont’s Green Mountains (but generally 5-15″ elsewhere in the north country and into Quebec) have freshened up the skiing once again in the backcountry and in many off-piste areas near ski areas. Since the rather durable crust leftover from the thaw now lingers under this new snow, the smoothest skiing is generally found in low to mid angle terrain on wind-sheltered aspects (especially NE to S). However, steeper lines in the northern Green Mountains are skiing very nicely right now with 15-25″+ of new snow falling since the thaw. Continued cold weather, as well as a few minor snow-producing weather fronts should preserve the powder skiing in the backcountry well into the second week of February. Still, with our snowpack still relatively thin overall, and with many areas heavily scoured by recent winds, take it easy out there. We are just into the beginning of February, with a whole lot of winter ahead.
Mid-January – A Powder-Hound’s Dream
A few 1-3″ snowfalls over the last week, along with cold temps and the 15-40″+ of fresh snow that has fallen across the north country since Dec. 28, has produced over two straight weeks of beautiful powder skiing off-piste and in the backcountry. These same conditions have also produced some of the most impressive snow and rime buildup on the higher elevation conifer and hardwoods forests that we have ever seen in the northeast. Temperatures may climb above the freezing mark Friday 1/16 and again on Sunday 1/18, and the snow in some lower-elevation southern and western aspects, especially, may get a bit wet and then crust up in the nighttime hours. However, most high elevation and NE-NW aspects should remain powdery and very, very fun to ski well into next week. Here are a few images that were captured off-piste in Vermont earlier this week…
Happy New Year – SNOW!
Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow! It’s falling, it’s everywhere and it’s filling in. Forecasters are now calling for 10-20″ over the next several days in many parts of the North Country. The powder skiing continues to improve in the backcountry, with buttery, shin to knee-deep fresh tracks awaiting skiers in the higher elevation backcountry areas across the Dacks, northern New England and Quebec’s Gaspe. There is still a minor and somewhat grabby crust layer near the surface at lower elevations below 2000′. Base depths are still a bit thin, especially down low, below 2500′ – so take it easy and have fun. Check out Photo of the Week for a snap from Dec. 30, 2010 in Vermont’s Mad River Valley.
Mid-December 2009 Update – Deepcember
The big snows (lake-effect for the Dacks and the Greens) that arrived to parts of northern New England during the second week of December produced over-the-shoulder snow conditions in the steeps of the higher elevations for about twenty four hours before settling down and then mixing with the wetter, heavier snow falling across the north country this week. A few snow showers (maybe another 4-6″ up high) and then some very cold, dry weather should prevail in the coming 7-10 days…just about til Christmas. This weather will preserve the powder skiing, and if we can scrounge any moisture now and then, we should pick up a few stray snow showers if we are lucky. If untracked snow is what you are after, there should be plenty of it, especially up high in the leeward north/east facing drainages. With base depths still very thin, however, take it easy, make plenty of turns and remember that there is a long ski season ahead. Think snow!
Mid-October 2009 Update – Fast Grass In Full Effect
Fresh snowfall on Tuesday, Oct 13 above 1500′ in northern New England has kicked off the ski season for snow-hungry, human-powered skiers across the region (Apparently, Sunday River ski area in Maine opened this week, as well, the first in the east for 3 years running). Low-angle, grassy ski trails free of service roads and water bars offer the best skiing right now, and with cold temps holding steady and even some weekend snow in the forecast, the skiing should remain especially good on non-solar aspects above 2200′ through Monday morning, October 19th. After that, temps will likely be too warm for any significant snow for at least 8-10 days. Here is an image captured in the northern Green Mountains just a couple of days ago:
September 2009 Update – Frost Skiing Outlook
Night time temps are already dipping into the mid 30s, light frost has already affected the mountains, and a widespread valley frost could occur any day now across the north country (northern New York and New England). If you’ve already harvested all of your tomatoes and basil, and just can’t wait any more for the snow to fly, find a well mowed and sloped field, pasture or ski trail (preferably one with plenty of moss, too), wait for a good frost, and get an early start. If the frost melts on your way up the mountain or simply isn’t as heavy as you had hoped, consider the following grass skiing tips.
Have fun out there. – Brian
For additional weather and snow conditions, head to our Forecasts and Conditions page.