The Skiing Weatherman Conditions Report: March 12-16
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
For the past couple of weeks, I have touting the fact that the overall pattern was set up for action in terms of snow events. Unfortunately the northwesterly flow of cold air has been TOO strong at times, and we have missed out on a couple of events that have stayed too far to the south to bring appreciable snow to the mountains of the Northeast. There have been several Alberta Clippers that have come zipping through in the northern branch of the jet stream…those systems are almost always moisture-starved…so snowfall amounts have been light and pretty much confined to the far northern mountains. That is where you will find some packed powder as this week gets underway. The quick warm-up on Saturday converted much of the region’s surface snow to a more moist granular consistency. Thankfully the spike in temperatures only last one day, so trail counts were not adversely affected.
Now, if you long for a few more days on (or “in”) dry, midwinter snow, it sure looks like help is on the way. It looks as though a storm system will get going in the Midwest later on Tuesday before tracking east-northeastward through the northern mid-Atlantic region Wednesday. From there it will turn more northeasterly as it heads offshore south of Long Island and spins up into the Gulf of Maine on its’ way to the Maritimes. That’s a nice track for substantial snow over the interior Northeast.
Now, this week will get off to a milder than normal start, which might make you wonder if it will be cold enough for snow when the storm comes along. On Tuesday, with the clockwise flow around a large area of high pressure parked over western Ontario providing the push, a cold front will move southward through New York and New England. It will set off some light mountain snow as it does, with the boundary eventually coming to a halt south of Long Island and across the mid-Atlantic states. It is along this thermal ribbon that low pressure will track as it approaches the coast, and by the time it throws moisture into the mountains of New York and New England, enough cold air will have been fed into the path of the storm to bring crystals to the hills and not raindrops. In coastal sections, it looks like the event will start with rain, but as the storm intensifies, northeast winds will drag cold air southward, and this storm will end as accumulating snow from southern New England as far south as Philadelphia or so.
This Weekend and Long Term
How much snow is this storm capable of producing? Well, if everything falls into place and the track is not TOO far south once again (less of a threat this time around), the resorts from the Catskills northeastward to the mountains of Maine will be looking at a double digit snowfall. That would set things up for a nice powder day on Thursday and Friday. It will be quite cold for March for a couple of days after the passage of the storm, which will sustain the dry surface snow into next weekend. While the mid-Atlantic region will turn milder than normal again late next weekend and on St. Patrick’s Day, it looks as though northern branch disturbances will continue to move along the U.S./Canadian border at that time, generating some light mountain snow and reinforcing the cold air mass to sustain nice conditions. And guess what…I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we were dealing with another significant storm threat in the middle of next week…this pattern is that loaded! Further down the road, it looks colder than normal overall through much, if not all of this month, which will provide skiers and riders with many more opportunities to get out and do some sliding.
Here are some upcoming special events at the resorts that might interest you:
- King Pine, NH-Kid’s Race 3/15
- Cranmore, NH-Mascot Jam 3/15
- Attitash, NH-41st Annual Red Parka Pub Challenge Cup 3/14
- Cannon Mt., NH-Crash test Dummy Race 3/15
- Ragged Mt., NH-$17 lift and tubing tickets 3/17
Related Slideshow: Best Ski + Snowboard Colleges in the East
With Stowe and Sugarbush nearby, finding challenging terrain is not an issue at colleges in northern Vermont. Students at Middlebury enjoy the Snow Bowl, owned by the college, for a quick few runs when they are not up for a car ride. In less than a half hour however, they can hit the slopes at Sugarbush or Stowe. You will need to be a top student to get into Middlebury though; with an acceptance rate of just 18%, the college is among a handful of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country.
University of Vermont
Heading north, in the picturebook city of Burlington on the shores of Lake Champlain, you will find the University of Vermont. Famous for producing both Alpine and Downhill Olympic skiers, UVM is a mecca for winter sports lovers. Buses head from campus to the slopes on the weekends, and students tune their skis in the dorm hallways at night. Sugarbush and Stowe are the most popular ski destinations for UVMers, but Smuggler’s Notch and Jay Peak also draw sports classes and snowboarders looking for slopes off the beaten path. UVM is different than most state schools in that 75% of students come from out-of-state, the university boasts an amazing honors college, it’s home to a ground breaking environmental studies program and a highly rated medical school.
St. Michael's College
Nearby in Colchester, St. Michael’s is a hidden gem among Catholic colleges in New England. St. Mike’s has a warm, pretty campus with a wide variety of majors, including business. Easy access to Burlington and all the same ski areas as UVM, make St. Mike’s a great option for students wanting a small college with reasonable acceptance rates and a nurturing academic environment.
For skiers and snowboarders who can make the Ivy League cut, there is really only one college: Dartmouth. Whether you race cross country or are a downhill enthusiast, Dartmouth’s long tradition of elite athletics will ensure top notch competition. Dartmouth has their own “SkiWay”, but it’s not on campus and most students prefer the challenge of a bigger mountain. Since Dartmouth sits close to the New Hampshire/Vermont boarder, there are quite a few options for big mountain skiing, with Killington and Okemo less than 45 minutes away.
New England College
New England College in Henniker is a tiny, ski lovers’ gem. For students who prefer a small college with very personal attention, NEC is a great choice. Those with learning differences will also find a warm and accepting environment with professor mentorships and all the tools necessary to succeed in college. Students at NEC form a tight knit community and can often be seen heading off with boards tucked under their arms in groups each afternoon to hit the slopes at nearby Loon or Waterville.
Plymouth State University
Plymouth State offers another option for boarders and skiers in central New Hampshire. With easy access to Waterville, Loon, Cannon and even the North Conway area, there are many choices for big mountain skiing. The college sprawls up the hillside in the quaint town of Plymouth, which is filled with shops and restaurants. With a medium size student body, reasonable acceptance rate and low tuition, Plymouth State is easily accessible for many students.
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