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About this blog

Update: Future blog posts will be made as stand-alone threads in the forums. You can filter for them using the "chasing snow" tag.

 

Bryan K. Woods, Ph.D. founded Northeast Mountain Sports and publishes this blog dedicated to skiing and winter weather. He received a B.S. in Meteorology from UMass Lowell and his Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale. He is an expert in mountain meteorology with multiple peer-reviewed publications. He worked for five years as a Senior Staff Scientist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc and its parent company Verisk Analytics. He is currently a Principal Engineer at HERE Technologies, the Open Location Platform company.

Bryan lives in Chelmsford, MA with his wife and ski tuning bench. He spends his winter weekends in North Conway, NH or elsewhere skiing. He is actively involved in the Eastern Inter-Club Ski League (EICSL) as its Secretary, and a Board member of the Makusue Ski And Sport Club in North Conway, NH and ACE Ski and Board Club in Chelmsford, MA.

Entries in this blog

 

MLK Weekend 2019

This MLK weekend promises to be a great one for the New England skier. We're facing a sizable snowstorm Saturday night through Sunday. Look for widespread accumulations of a foot or more across ski country. Amounts will be highest in the White Mountains and southern Vermont, with less amounts as you move north into Vermont. Cutting to the chase, here are the latest snowfall forecasts from the National Weather Service. I think those amounts look like a decent guess for New Hampsh

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Stop me if you've heard this before...

Stop me if you've heard this before... we're looking at another great weekend of skiing. And it's only mid-November! Thursday night into Friday will bring the third snow storm in a week to much of ski country. This is the part of the discussion where I'd typically show you the model forecast maps for snowfall accumulation. I'll do that this time but please be aware that I think they're all crazy. Seriously the simple snowfall algorithms are not handling this well. They are either crazy high

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Another early-season snowstorm to freshen up the weekend

Good news skiers! Friday night will bring an elevation snow storm to northern New Hampshire and Maine. After getting off-piste in 15" of natural on October 27 at Wildcat, this is more welcome news. Sorry, Vermont skiers. Once again you'll be missing out. The thermal profile is such that the valley will likely not see any accumulation. This is likely going to be something that only accumulates about about 1,700 - 2,000'. Look for snow in the notches and mountains, but not the low terrain. 

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Powder Day on Saturday... in October!

Wax those boards, boys and girls. We have a genuine powder day coming up on Saturday, in October! Powder might be a bit of a stretch. Dense snow is expected. A paste job is likely. This weekend we'll be skiing at 4 mountains in New England: Mt Snow, Killington, Wildcat, and Sunday River. Of those, Wildcat is easily the best bet. They reported nearly 10" of fresh snow today. They are likely to receive the most snow on Saturday, and they are offering top-to-bottom skiing off the express quad.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Wednesday night is go time

Attention snowmakers: I hope you rest up tonight, because Wednesday night shortly after dark it will be time to get down to business. We're expecting at least two prolonged snowmaking windows. The first Wednesday (10/16) night into Friday morning, and another Saturday night into Tuesday morning. Below is a modeled temperature timeline for Jay Peak. Note that temperatures on Sunday and Monday may not stay cold enough to allow daytime snow production. With the arrival of the cold air on

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

October skiing imminent

The time for stoke is now. Are you ready? October skiing is highly likely this year. So when does it start? Look for snow guns to come alive this Wednesday evening (October 17). Thursday night will be even colder. Look for a hard freeze almost all the way down to the coast. Below is the National Weather Service temperature forecast for Killington Peak. Freezing temperature should be widespread Wednesday and Thursday nights. Most ski areas should lose snowmaking temperatures

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Widespread snow expected on Wednesday

It's no secret that March is the snowiest month of the year, and fortunately this year looks to preserve that generality.  A Nor'Easter will impact the region on Wednesday bringing snow stretching into Monday morning. Widespread moderate to heavy snow is expected from a band of 8-14" stretching across much of ski country. Locally deeper snowfall is possible, but moderate temperatures should limit the fluff factor keeping accumulations down. The latest GFS snowfall forecast will give you a genera

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Coastal storm expected with severe impacts in southern New England

For the past few days I've been carefully watching the development for Friday's coastal storm. The greater than usual uncertainty has been the result of two key factors: 1) the thermal profile is going to right on the cusp between snow and rain, and 2) the system is going to be highly energetic. Robust storms like this one are difficult to forecast since the perturbations enter a non-linear regime meaning small changes in computer model inputs can result in dramatic differences in the forecast.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Sunday will be subtle

I'm happy to be able to put forward a remotely optimistic weekend outlook. Some light precipitation (of mixed phase depending on location) on Friday night will give way to a beautiful day. Saturday looks to be a warm and sunny days with temperatures in the 40s in the valleys, and 30s at the summits. But all eyes should be focused on Sunday, which looks like a classic warm air overrunning scenario. In these situations, Vermont typically starts as snow and switches over to straight rain. But north

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

The heat is on for vacation week

I was on vacation for a while in late January in early February, so I am sorry for missing those couple of storms. Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the less favorable. Looking toward this weekend, I expect only light accumulations in the higher terrain. The school vacation week look warm. Very warm. And there will be some showers mid-week. Not exactly the most compelling ski conditions, but the kids won't be freezing.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

February 7, 2018 storm

I know that January was less than favorable for snow storms, which is why you didn't see a lot from me. Plus I was on vacation for the last ten days in the Dolomites and Venice, but I'm back now! I'm still trying to work through my backlog, but fortunately tomorrow's upcoming storm is a simple story. In short, there is a progressive wave coming through tomorrow (Wednesday) that will drop a quick 8-12" of snow across northern New England. As the center of the low will pass over southern New

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

January 4, 2018 storm

Model trends today have been to the west, which is no real surprise. In this highly amplified flow the models tend to damp down such extremes in the long range. The way we initialize models (data assimilation) there are terms in the equations to penalize extreme solutions and force everything back to average. The result is often suppressing storms in highly amplified regimes like this one. The track looks to be just offshore with strong snow banding just to the west of the track. This bring

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Christmas weekend

It's all about the base. Starting tomorrow we'll be seeing a storm system composed of two phases. The first phase will be a quick hit of light to moderate snowfall falling throughout the day. Late Friday night into Saturday morning we'll see a lull in the precipitation, followed by the onset of freezing rain on Saturday afternoon and evening. It's remarkable how consistent the models have been with this freezing rain for days now. Typically models don't handle freezing rain well as th

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Initial Christmas forecast

Please don't panic. Life will go on. But this Saturday it is going to rain. Vermont will get the worst of it. As is usually the case with these inside runner storms, the frozen precipitation will hold on the longest over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and into Maine. They made actually see a net positive gain in snow depths (base builder event) especially at places like Wildcat, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf that sit on the north side of the White Mountains. The high terrain can act as a pro

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Weather takes a turn for the wintry side

The stars have aligned over the last 24 hours as the weather model guidance has decided that it's time for winter to get started. This a much more sensical solution as all the pieces were in place. The first development is that model guidance has shifted on-shore with Saturday night's snowfall. The result is a plowable snowfall across southeast New England, with light snow over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and western Maine. Accumulations in Vermont won't be meaningful until later in the

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Second weekend of December outlook

Temperature Outlook Cold air is moving into the Northeast today, and it will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. The long range forecast is for below-average forecast at least the next two weeks. Snowmakers will be working overtime. Below are the surface temperature anomalies for the next two weeks. This Weekend This weekend looks tranquil with a low chance of very light snow -- not enough to do anything but look pretty. A wave low pressure should stay just offshore.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Early December outlook

This weekend December arrives on Friday! So where should you ski this weekend? That's an easy answer: Jay Peak. They've reported 22" of snow this week. Have you seen the reports? I'm jealous.  They already have several trails and a few glades open with natural snow. The snow isn't done yet. Another several inches (maybe 6?")  is expected before the weekend. If you're not skiing this weekend, this is your opportunity to complete preparations for winter. This may be your

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

A brief explanation of today's northern Vermont snow

Ski areas across northern Vermont reported several inches of snow today. This is a classic case of upslope flow, and it usually leaves really powdery snow. The kind of fluffy snow that disintegrates as soon as you sneeze at it. Pure blower. Great for a top-dressing, but no good at building a base. @Flying Yeti writes... Most of the time the moisture from these events is wrap-around from a departing low, like yesterday's rain storm. The mesoscale models generally handle these post-sto

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Pre-Thanksgiving weekend outlook

The thermal profiles are timing are looking very close, but I've become more optimistic that there will be some good skiing to be had for this weekend. Let's break it down in brief. Thursday The White Mountains look to survive Thursday's storm with a net-gain of snow, especially at elevation. Just enough cold air is going to hang on aloft to counteract the  rain/snow changeover. The mixing line looks to go up to about 3,000 feet at times. Vermont will not be so lucky as they receive a

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

More cold on tap for next week

I'm looking at the forecast for the next several days, and I'm not impressed.  Thursday we'll see widespread rain across New England. The ECMWF model is holding onto a wet snow paste job across the White Mountains, but the GFS is going rain. Either way, the thermal profile is going to be close. I'm leaning toward a washout. On Saturday - Sunday, we'll see another wet weather system move through. That one looks to start as snow and quickly change to rain. I'd rather not dwell on this. My goa

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Cold moves in tonight

Welcome to ski season 2017-18. This weekend we look forward to skiing at: Killington Sunday River Wildcat Mount Snow Okemo Sugarloaf Bretton Woods? -  Thursday Guns are off right at lower elevations during the day as the flow has turned out of the south bring in warmer and more humid air. We're getting squeezed between two circulation centers which is moderating the weather for now. Friday In the early morning the flow flips around,

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Opening week weather update

Monday afternoon update It's finally here. The first turns of the 2017-18 ski season will be made this week! Snow guns will be firing up tonight across New England. Looking at who is already in play, expect Killington to be making their first passholder-only turns by the end of the work week, with other early season players coming on board by the end of the weekend. Sunday River has already announced a weekend opening, and Bretton Woods may join in. Exciting! Let's break it down day by day.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Opening Day comes this week

Monday evening update is posted, previous discussion continues below. It's finally here. The first turns of the 2017-18 ski season will be made this week! But before we get there we need to weather some rain tomorrow (Monday) and be patient as the snow guns come online. Looking at who is already in play, expect Killington to be making their first passholder-only turns by the end of the work week, with other early season players coming on board by the end of the weekend. Exciting! Let's brea

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

First widespread snowmaking window in sight

I'm settled in a home with two bowls full of candy awaiting the Trick or Treaters. Yes, we're running a bit behind this year due to Sunday's storm and the subsequent power outage. On top of that today is my wife's birthday, and my mother's. Yes, both of them. But today's multi-occasion theme has me in the mood to transition to welcome November news. Snowmaking will be coming online in the foreseeable future. Killington has proven a willingness to blow snow in the most marginal conditions, e

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Welcome to November

I'm glad that the last storm is behind us. I wish I had a catchy name for it, but it sucked. I lost power at 8pm on Sunday and got in back at 8pm on Tuesday. Just to rub it in, my house was a smoke den last night because I lit the fireplace for heat (before the power came back on) but it wasn't quite cold enough to draft properly. Enough of my problems... we need some good news. Killington is making snow! But you probably already known that. They desperately need to put down some snow befor

Weatherman

Weatherman

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