On friday night I had a dream. In my dream I was watching a southern stream low move through Conn with a central pressure around 996 MB. I remember distinctly the date. February 6th. I was in Austria and was posting this data on facebook with the comment: “for my friends back home, I left you a present.” It was bringing snow to the Northeast. We were all stoked.

This morning’s GFS:

I kid you not. You can ask Greg. I’m freaked out.

Now dreaming is one thing but backing it up with statistics is another. And that is where this gets weird. Around that time the ensemble outlooks have a small dip in the NAO toward negative, with a positive PNA and negative AO. Combined that’s certainly supportive of a moderately strong East Coast storm. Will it come to pass? I don’t know. Nobody can tell if you’ll need the fat skis this far out. However, I do favor the period from 2/4 to 2/6 or so for east coast storminess. Beyond that numerical models show a sustained winter like pattern through the second week of February. Take note though- we’ve seen similar model solutions several times this year only to have rain events develop as northern stream storms intensify more deeply than forecasted, and move more warm air into the region turning light snow clippers into misty messy events.

Before this we’ll have another few inches tonight into tomorrow am as energy ejects westward. It’s possible some low elevation mixed precip occurs but above 2000 feet this will be all snow. All in all that will bring 4 days totals to almost a foot across much of the ADK and Greens. Which is frankly impossible if you buy the prevailing narrative that this winter is terrible. I’d be lying if I said I agreed with you. I said it in october, and I’ll say it now. This is an elevation dependent winter. We’ll get close to average at the stake while BTV and the base areas suffer. Sure we started below average but if you go back to Mid December it’s actually been a pretty steady winter pattern. While not featuring some of the block buster nor’easters of the last two years, we’ve seen several 3-5 days stretches of sustained snow showers adding up to 8-14 inches. Not good for the gapers to get stoked, but good for those willing to wait and put the time time in to get zee powz (I’m off to Austria soon so I gotta practice zee German). So really, stop sticking with the crowd and saying this winter sucks. Make the best of what you got and go get some powder as I think this pattern generally continues thru February. Albeit I do think we’ll see greater chances for larger storms during that period but overall I suspect confused elevation dependent waves of energy will be the norm.

Of course if the pows don’t come, the piste has been glorious this year. Don’t believe me? Just ask the young Alces alces who was out working on the stem christie with Greg.

Ok. I’m out. I gotta shower (In POW).

UPDATE: In looking at the latest long range model runs it looks like excitement for next week should be tempered. While there is still the chance for a storm in the 2/5-2/7 range as energy from the west moves into the east, it looks like a suppressed solution at this time. This bears watching but it looks like in it’s wake we’ll see a similar flat gradient pattern to what we’ve been in. GFS wants to now push the “winter” back another 5 days or so…which is a model trend nobody likes to see.

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  1. ml242
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 12:20 pm  

    Hey, good news about this storm and I hope you guys get some great turns but this winter still sucks. There’s no way to spin a below average stake and the fact that terrain and attendance have been hammered into a positive, except maybe to get people off their asses and move when the getting is good.

    Sorry if this post is a little

    HI, WAYNE!!!!!

    Keep up the good news otherwise!

    • Greg
      wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 12:30 pm  

      Hey Matt. I hear you, I really do. The truth is though, we’re not spinning anything. Why would we? FIS has no vested interest if our readers buy lift tickets. FIS is not affiliated with a ski area. So there’s no reason to come here and get spin. You just get our opinion… that’s it. That’s all.

      So… I’m not saying you’re wrong about this season; it’s very likely you might think this is the worst season ever. The fact of the matter is though it’s all a matter of perspective. (Indeed how can such a subjective issue be anything but based on one’s perspective?) For many days this year I got positively STOKED on 15 degree or less pow on coral reef. Skied fast and smooth. The steeps were pretty much a “no-go” unless your idea of a good time is scratching down something in the back seat. Mine is not, and I went for the mellow goodness. If the mellow goodness doesn’t tickle you the right way then, yes, it probably is pretty rough out there… but sliding down the mountain smoothly and swiftly in the cold crisp air… that does it for me. Any variety…

      All I can really say to finish this is our usual “sign off”: GIT SUM!

  2. ml242
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 12:59 pm  

    Look, I hear you and fully subscribe to the Any Day on Snow philosophy… my limited days they’ve all been A+!

    and I’m stoked that LH is up in VT now to fully appreciate every flake rather than being in a city. It’s worlds better, and would totally change anyone’s subjective opinion.

    I guess I just feel that the prevailing narrative is correct, except probably not extreme enough because things are really looking sad outside of the northern greens.

    My fingers and toes are crossed for a turnaround though, so I’ll keep checking weather everywhere and hoping for the best.

    HI WAYNE!!!!

    • Greg
      wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 1:44 pm  

      fair enough… the northern Green snow news can get pretty old if it’s a bridge too far for whatever reason… at the same time though for someone like LH who just got here and is STOKED on this “worst season ever” he’s getting tired of folks telling him he needs to fix the weather….

      either way we’re splitting hairs of FWProblems. ;)

      I do have to point out though: I do remember seeing a pic of you shredding Platty in October. I understood it to be lift served pow… that was AWESOME and was THIS SEASON! Feast or famine I guess.

      Regardless, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a big turnaround for the Catskills… We’re rooting for it dude!

    • Lionel Hutz
      wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 1:50 pm  

      My thoughts are about group think and self-fulfilling statements. If you convince yourself that it’s a terrible season and there is no good skiing to be had then guess what? You will not have any good ski days. I believe that you can’t buy a narrative until you test it yourself without the thoughts of others in your dome.
      So I say get up, get out there and see for yourself.

  3. Harvey44
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 3:46 pm  

    Seems like it always makes sense to ski. I had 35 days last season and only one of them could classify as take it or leave it. My days are down this so far year but I haven’t had a day yet that I would trade back for the gas money. Then again, I had to publish a disclaimer two seasons ago – I had so many peeps callin BS on my attitude/outlook. I’ll bet a donut that by July you’ll be smilin ML – hell I sense an awesome TR in your VERY NEAR future.

  4. brian
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 4:39 pm  

    I claim that this is the worst winter in recent memory, but it hasn’t stopped us from skiing just about every single weekend, and over half of those days have involved soft turns of some sort (with the exception of Sunday River in December)… The take away: anyone who thinks there’s no good skiing in NE (this year or any year for that matter) isn’t trying hard enough.

  5. brian
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 4:42 pm  

    But by all means, let’s pray for some more snow; just try not to be too negative! A lot of fun can be had by just looking on the bright side :)

  6. colin_extreme
    wrote on January 30th, 2012 at 4:52 pm  

    everything in the quebec city region is skiing amazingly right now

    i know it’s north, but just sayin’

  7. Big Wave Dave
    wrote on January 31st, 2012 at 3:58 pm  

    consider this the year of the SICK groomer!

    • whitewoodchuck
      wrote on January 31st, 2012 at 7:31 pm  

      Spot on BWD!! Moving one state to the right – it’s been the kind of winter where Loon’s recent snowmaking upgrades are paying big dividends, trail skiing has been decent most of the month. Now if we could just get a nice big dump over that thickish crust that set up in the woods after last Friday’s rain we’d all be sittin’ pretty:)

  8. whitewoodchuck
    wrote on January 31st, 2012 at 7:38 pm  

    LH – have a blast in zee Alps!!

    • Greg
      wrote on February 1st, 2012 at 8:00 am  

      so too do the rest of the FIS wish ya well dood! (and thanks for checking in WWC!!)

  9. Sequoiashan
    wrote on February 1st, 2012 at 6:34 am  

    So..this isn’t going to happen now is it?

    • Greg
      wrote on February 1st, 2012 at 8:01 am  

      GFS says not happenin’, Euro says yes. (LH should confirm tho…)

  10. petebanta
    wrote on February 5th, 2012 at 10:19 am  

    Well, the storm forecast did not entirely work out… though spots some some inches (Jay & Stowe did OK, and we are rebounding… once again…), it is now clear & cold & dry in NVT (but some snow showers should happen next few days). Still, I feel good about February, and people need to remember March usually is good, and I have seen it snow right into May… it ain’t over yet… and the numbersd often have a way of working out over the whole winter (aka Slow Start can mean a Big Finish!)… ::fingers crossed::

    As for “The Death of Winter”. Pish-Posh! I have seen worse in VT (yup), and I think this is one of those year’s where we really see who is a “Glass Half-Full” or “Glass Half-Empty” -person. Some of it is due to the fact that we have had some good winters recently, and then expectations become too high, and that is never a good thing, in my experience. Yes, December was a let-down (though I found a couple good days in there, and actualy got in the Notch Woods (yes, it was thin… so?). January has been one of those months where the reset button got hit every week, but if you timed it right, there were freshies to be found (5-6 good pow days here @ Smuggs). None of it was what I would call “Epic”, but snow hit my face. Good enough this year…

    And some of it is knowing where to go, and getting after it… Case in point: Yesterday, friend & I went to Smuggs, to see how things have rebounded since Wednesday’s Wrongness, quick hike off Sterling into Notch trees yielded mixed results – 2-3″ of Thur/Fri decent snow, covered by 2-4″ of wispy Friday night fluff. Not enough to help the soft-wood steeps enough (SCCCCRRRRAAAAATCH!), but hard-woods/lower angles were fun enough… but we sensed there was better stuff to be found… so we hiked up into high point of Notch Road to explore some… and hiked some steep chutes not far off the road and BINGO! Knee-Deep Goodness (though right next to unbreakable death crust, so it really is about being in just the right spot)! Best turns of the day! :)

    Of course, a lot of it is living in THE BEST place in the east for sliding – Northern VT! Where even the worst winter still has snow. I do feel for others around East/country who are having bad years… Come to Vermont! Duh. :P

  11. sfmornay
    wrote on February 7th, 2012 at 2:36 pm  

    Castle Rock at Sugarbush has some of the best ice skiing I’ve seen in years :-) Nice round well-spaced moguls, rock-hard and often shiny. Completely resistant to the usual heel-side scrapers/gougers, and very little traffic. I guess my glass is half-full, though completely full would be even better.

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