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The Skiing Weatherman Conditions Report: Jan 1 - Jan 5

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Herb Stevens: GoLocalWorcester's Skiing Weatherman

Weather turning wild, and potentially wonderful for skiers and riders

I have just returned from several days at my all-time favorite ski area…Mont Sutton in Quebec. You may have never heard of Mont Sutton, but it is an absolutely charming area that puts a premium on your experience on the hill. More than half of Sutton’s terrain is gladed, and all of the runs were designed by a higher power…not more than a few teaspoons of earth have been moved to alter the trails since they opened more than 50 years ago. The trail/glade network at Sutton is so complex that you can easily spend a week there and never feel like you have hit the same line twice. As I say, Mont Sutton is in Quebec, but it is less than 10 miles over the border from northern Vermont, in the Eastern Townships region of the province. Long ago, the Eastern Townships were a favorite summertime retreat for English upper class, and to this day, English is spoken freely and easily by the locals, and Americans are warmly welcomed. Catch Mont Sutton on a powder day and I promise you it will be an experience you will remember for a long, long time. If you enjoy tree skiing as much as I do, Sutton belongs on your bucket list.

Watch out for the Skiing Weatherman's Video Report on Thursday Afternoon

Unfortunately, the conditions for this visit to Mont Sutton were less than ideal. After building up an impressive pre-holiday trail count and very nice surface conditions, they were dealt a stinker of a hand with a two day ice storm on the 21st and 22nd. Problems with power persisted through Christmas as wind kept knocking ice-encased branches to fall on lines. Then some freezing drizzle this past weekend caused the soft surface snow firmed up quite a bit. The storm that brought fresh snow to much of central and northern New England on Sunday night only produced a light accumulation north of the border, so the surface remained firm for my last day of skiing…Monday. However, the pattern is just beginning to provide fireworks, and the prospects for snow across all of New England and Quebec over the next couple of weeks are outstanding, although the cold air supporting the snow may go to extremes on a couple of days during that time, which might discourage some skiers and riders from venturing forth, but make no mistake about it, the new snow of Sunday combined with what is coming later this week will set things up for a “must ski/ride weekend” to kick off the New Year.

The Sunday storm is worth reviewing, because even though it was a soaking rain along the coast, the mountains did very well in what was a quick hitting storm that raced out to sea early Monday morning. In Maine, Saddleback and Sugarloaf both picked up 3 to 5 inches or so of high moisture content snow, the kind that bonds to and covers up some of the frozen granular that resulted from the ice storm of a week ago. Sometimes snow the consistency of pudding is better than champagne powder, and this was one of those occasions. The heaviest snows fell from central New Hampshire through the North Conway region and into the mountains of western Maine. Sunday River, Wildcat, Attitash, Cranmore, King Pine, Cannon, Loon and Waterville Valley all picked up around 10 inches of new snow, and trail counts have now jumped up at all of these resorts. In Vermont, Bromley (10”), Mt. Snow (7”) and Stratton (6”) were the big winners. In addition, the snowmakers have also logged some very productive sessions since Christmas Eve, and more runs have opened up at just about every resort, big or small.

Now that we have seen bases softened up considerably, the best thing that could happen would be for a storm to come along and dump some of those fluffy pillow feather flakes that we all dream about, and at this point, it appears as though we could welcome in the New Year with just such a storm. By later Thursday, low pressure will be moving up the eastern seaboard after having developed in the Gulf of Mexico, but it looks as though it will a little too far offshore of Cape Cod and the islands to spread heavy snow across northern New England. This does look like a very productive storm for central and southern New England, though. There will also be a low pressure area tracking eastward from the Great Lakes, and that system spinning along on the northern branch of the jet stream will pass through the Northeast and that will help produce at least a light snowfall across the far north. If we want the major dump, the coastal needs to get involved in order to tap Atlantic moisture…let’s face it, the Great Lakes don’t cut it in terms of being a major moisture source. Because arctic air will be entrenched over the region when either one or both of the lows pass through, the snow to water ratios will be quite high. The storm that raced by Sunday night had ratios on the order of 7 or 8 to 1, even in the mountains, and that is a recipe for great snowball making snow, but not a powder hound’s dream. With such cold, dry air in place, the physics of snowflake creation allow for much lighter crystals to form, and the ratios this time around will be more like 15 or 20 to one…perfect for creating a blanket that each turn transforms into a puff of white smoke. Those high ratios will help generate snowfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with much of the snow falling with temperatures in the lower teens and upper single digits, an occurrence that is fairly unusual for southern New England.

In the wake of the late week system, a powerful shot of air straight from the high arctic regions will spread across the region, and there’s no need pulling any punches about it, Friday and Saturday are going to be a very cold days on the slopes. Temperatures will modify on Sunday and Monday before another coastal storm takes aim on the Northeast…at this point, there is no guarantee about the track. If the storm becomes TOO intense, it will tend to cut up through western New England, which would put most of the region’s slopes on the warm side of the storm, leading to a mixed mess. A more modest storm could hug the coast and nail the interior and the mountains with a round of very heavy snow. I will touch upon both the late week snow and the next system in line in my video snow report on Thursday, but for now, suffice it to say that the pattern we are entering into is a period with tremendous “upside potential”.


Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Sports Stories in 2013

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#13. Worcester Baseball

Baseball has always held a very important place in the http://www.golocalworcester.com/news/can-yet-another-baseball-team-undo-worcesters-curse-of-the-tornadoes/">history of Worcester.

In 1863, the famous poem Casey at the Bat was written in Worcester by Ernest Thayer under the pen name “Phineas.”

In 1880, J. Lee Richmond of the Worcester Worcesters pitched the first perfect game in professional baseball history. 

However, there was a void of professional baseball in the city following the departure of the Worcester Tornadoes in 2012. 

That void ended in 2013, with the announcement by John Creeden, Jr. of Worcester's newest baseball team, the Worcester Bravehearts.   This new team hits the field in 2014, managed by former Tornadoes player Alex Trezza, in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. 

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#12. Patriots Fall Short

The Patriots made a great run toward the Super Bowl in January.  After going 12-4 in the regular season and earning a first round bye, the Pats walked past the defensive powerhouse Houston Texans 41-28 on their way to play the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship.

Baltimore had just come off a tough double overtime victory at Denver a week earlier, so New England fans felt confident that they would be heading to New Orleans for their eighth Super Bowl.

However, at game time Baltimore's defense stepped-up behind their retiring captain, Ray Lewis, stunning the Patriots 28-13.  This would be the first ever home loss in an AFC Championship game for New England. 

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#11. HS State Champions

2013 brought several high school state titles to Central Massachusetts.

In the spring, there was a Central Mass sweep in softball as Milford (Division I), Grafton (Division II), and Assabet (Division III) all took home State Championships. 

In the fall, four Central Mass football teams reached State Super Bowls, and two of those teams came home as champions. The Doherty Highlanders won a battle with Dennis-Yarmouth 28-26 to claim the Division 4 title, and in Division 6, the Littleton Tigers won a 52-35 shootout over Cohasset.

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#10. Auburn's Tyler Beede

Tyler Beede, an Auburn native, had one of the most dominant pitching performances in all of Division I college baseball in 2013 at Vanderbilt University.

The 6'4” right-handed sophomore pitcher was heavily criticized for turning down a $2.5 million offer from the Toronto Blue Jays after being picked 21st overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. But now he is proving that he may have done the right thing in going to Vanderbilt.

Following the 2013 season, Beede was named Second Team All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

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#9. Tim Tebow

Much of New England scratched their heads when the Patriots signed Tim Tebow in June. Despite questions over the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback's viability as a starter in the NFL, the signing of Tebow was big news in Foxboro ahead of training camp.

Tebow's tenure in New England didn't last very long, as the former Florida Gator failed to make the Patriots' final cut.

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#8. One Fine Day

October 13, 2013 was a great day in New England Sports history, in fact, it is possibly one of the best ever.

First, the New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-27, after Tom Brady completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left in the game.

Then the Red Sox, down by five runs to Detroit in Game 2 of the ALCS, staged an unlikely comeback--featuring a David Ortiz grand slam--winning the game and making the series even at 1-1.

Read GoLocal's list of the Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports history here .

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#7. Red Sox Victory

After the train wreck season of 2012, expectations were tempered for the Red Sox in 2013.  They had dropped payroll, fired their manager, and the team's focus was on rebuilding for the future.

So when the Red Sox won their third World Series in ten years, the celebrations in New England were incredible. This was evidenced by the enormous number of people who turned out for the victory parade through Boston's streets in November.

See GoLocal's parade coverage here.  

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#6. Shamrock Shakeup

When the Celtics brought in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to play along with Paul Pierce under Doc Rivers, the team and fans knew that the window to win was small. 

They won a title in their first year together, and made several more runs in subsequent seasons, but in summer of 2013, it was clear that the window had closed.  

Doc Rivers walked away, replaced by first-year coach Brad Stevens; and Kevin Garnett was traded, along with Paul Pierce, to Brooklyn for draft picks and role players. 

While the short-term prognosis for the Celtics is not promising, most agree that these moves in 2013 will be the building blocks for a bright future at the Garden. 

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#5. Carter-Williams

In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.

Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.

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#4. Bob Lobel

For more than three decades, Bob Lobel was part of the telecast at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  And this year, after the tragic attacks that occurred at that site, Lobel shared his memories of the event, and how the bombings affected him in one of the best-written and well-read articles that GoLocal had the privilege of publishing in 2013.

Read the article here

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#3. Algonquin Lip-Dubbing

The athletes at Northborough's Algonquin Regional High School became internet celebrities in 2013 after their YouTube video went viral.

The video featured dozens of students performing a lip-dub  of a song by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen while backpedaling through the school.

The video was part of a marketing class project, and had more than 18,000 hits within 48 hours of being published.

Watch the amazing video here.

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#2. Aaron Hernandez

The Patriots knew that they would potentially need to deal with character issues when they drafted Aaron Hernandez in 2010.

In 2013, those issues came to the forefront in a large way when their star tight end was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd in June. Hernandez is currently awaiting trial from the Bristol County House of Corrections.

If it wasn't bad enough for Hernandez, things got worse.  Later in June, authorities began to investigate Hernandez' involvement in a 2012 double homicide in South Boston.

The GoLocal Sports Team will surely provide further news on these cases in 2014. 

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#1. Marathon Bombings

The biggest sports story in New England of 2013 transcended athletics, touching the lives of our local communities and much of the world.

On Monday, April 15--Patriots Day in the Bay State-- an otherwise normal celebratory day in Boston turned tragic just before 3:00 PM. Just feet away from the finish line for the Boston Marathon, two explosions from homemade bombs went off, killing three spectators, and injuring more than two hundred.

The tragedy gripped the entire nation; sparking emotions ranging from fear to outrage. But from the wreckage, emerged evidence of New England's resilience. From the impassioned speech at Fenway by David Ortiz, and Rene Rancourt's touching rendition of the National Anthem at the TD Garden, to the outpouring of support through the One Fund Boston, and the individual heroes like Carlos Arredondo and Joe Andruzzi (along with many, many others); New Englanders and Americans responded in an enormous way.

Read more of GoLocal's Coverage of the bombings here.


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