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Old 10-13-2004, 10:56 AM   #1
Trailpatrol
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Snow?

Could somebody let me know when they/you start getting snow in the High Peaks region? I am seriously thinking of coming east (First time in 11 years) for teh Mountaineer's Backcountry Ski Festival in early March, but if it's a crappy winter, why bother? We have lousy winters out here all the time. So, I want to keep track of the snowfall in the Keene/Keene Valley area. Help me out!

Ski safe,
Hans
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:33 AM   #2
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I understand that by mid-late november everyone's either on snowshoes or skis and it snows a LOT in the Adks. If I wanted to keep track of the conditions I would check the trip report section of this furum and on Views From The Top. I'd also check the weather for Lake Placid or Keene on a regular basis. For an idea of total snowfall check Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort's snow report section of their website.
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:54 AM   #3
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As Neil said, starting late November (took until december last year) the Dacks get hammered for about 4 months.

With Lake Effect snow on the western facing slopes, the Adirondacks are almost always in and out of some form of snowfall. Then you get the coastal storms which dump 1-3 feet at a time. Usually doesn't start to melt until early April.
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Old 10-13-2004, 12:11 PM   #4
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Have I been gone that long?

You would think I would remember this stuff, since I have only been out here 16 of my 50 years. I do remember reading that "youse guys" had a dry winter a few back. We have had several of those in a row, too. Last year was okay, but we got a lot of snow in late Jan. and early Feb. then it started leaving by the end of February. The three years before I was lucky to get out a half-dozen times a year skiing. Now, if I go up to "da U-P" (Upper Michigan) they get lots of tons of deep lake effect snow of Superior. You just have to put up with "da Yoopers." Anyhow, just let me know if it looks normal, dry or above normal from time to time, and I'll be a happy guy.

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Old 10-13-2004, 12:26 PM   #5
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Last year was an average winter, with a few big storms but nothing like the year before that which was close to record. Even in an average winter there was a 3-8 foot base on most of the trails I hiked. Most of those same trails are used for skiing.
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Old 10-13-2004, 12:41 PM   #6
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Kevin, I think I remember you once saying you were a weather freak. Do I have that right? If so, can you recommend a weather 101 website for those of us who are interested?
Also, do you mean that the dacks get loads of snow because of the Great Lakes? Do the prevailing winds pick up the moisture which then dumps as snow due to uplift caused by the mountains?
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Old 10-13-2004, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
Also, do you mean that the dacks get loads of snow because of the Great Lakes? Do the prevailing winds pick up the moisture which then dumps as snow due to uplift caused by the mountains?
With a decent moisture source to its west (same direction of the prevailing winds) there's always moisture in the air that can be rung out. Sometimes it's flurries, mountain snow, or just enhancement to a weather system's moisture supply. You also get "lift" from the mountains, which assists in the formation of precipitation. The exception is when under a high pressure and you get those below zero nights and lighter winds. As you'll read, winds are EVERYTHING in weather.

http://ggweather.com/101.htm#tutorials

specifically important:

http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/gu.../cld/home.rxml



[oh, and yeah I'm the weather nut, but not an expert by any means as I stopped my studies a long while back]
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Old 10-13-2004, 02:11 PM   #8
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This is a useful link:
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/nerfc/snow.shtml
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Old 10-13-2004, 03:53 PM   #9
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Check out this website ... some of the cams will give you an idea of the amount of snow on the ground near Lake Placid:
http://www.orda.org/ordacams.php


"Also, do you mean that the dacks get loads of snow because of the Great Lakes? Do the prevailing winds pick up the moisture which then dumps as snow due to uplift caused by the mountains?"

A lot of the snow off Lake Ontario gets dumped on the Tug Hill Plateau (Boonville, Barnes Corners, etc) and the western Adrondacks (Old Forge, for example) before it gets to the high peaks region. I believe that because there is so much moisture coming off the lake, the 'second lift' created by the higher peaks of the central and eastern 'dacks squeezes even more snow out of the storm systems & dumps it on those areas.

I remember learning how to ski at Snow Ridge in Turin ... where they had no snowmaking at all, just tons of natural snow (I think that's changed since those days) ... and if I remember correctly, the Olympic folks were pretty nervious back in 1980 when the winter snows were pretty light ... I think they even trucked in snow from elsewhere (Tug Hill?) for the events on Mt Van Hoevenburg.

Kevin ... those websites are pretty good! the Golden Gate one even has a Celcius to Farenheit calculator on it (and vice versa) ... I can never remember those formulas ...
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Old 10-13-2004, 04:42 PM   #10
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I read somewhere that as the warm moisture-ladened air (yes even in the winter) blows eastward off Lake Ontario it hits Tug Hill Plateau and rises. As the air rises it cools. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air and the precipitation is released en-masse.
I remember reading somewhere that the Watertown area consistently gets more snow than most places in the NE.

Also, A friend I was once hiking with once said that when the air masses rise and hit the adirondacks, they stall and circle, rising higher and cooling even more, releasing even more precipitation in the warm months. (This second part I don't know for sure - It's hearsay, but it does rain enough there.)
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Old 10-14-2004, 12:00 AM   #11
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I have to agree that Watertown does get it's share of snow. The weatherman is always explaining why we're getting dumped on ( ). It picks up moisture off from Lake Ontario and as it hits Tug Hill it dumps it. Lots of times it is a little south of Watertown (10-15 miles) Lowville, Boonville and over to Old Forge usually gets quite a bit. We usually can start skiing around Thanksgiving and can do our last x-c ski up on Tug Hill in April in 55 degree sunshine.
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Old 10-14-2004, 09:26 AM   #12
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Lake Effect

Last winter, Ironwood, Michigan, in the upper penninsula ("Da U.P." in local terminology.) on the SE side of Lake Superior by the Wisconsin border, received 243 inches (over 20 feet!) of lake effect snow. Like Syracuse, northern WI usually gets a lot of snow, but not as much as the U.P. and like Ithaca (Where I am from originally) and Cortland, the average snow depth diminishes the farther you get from "the big lake they call Gitchee-Gumi." I have skiied on 12 feet of snow up new Boonville on the Tug Hill plateau. I have skiied in the UP, but was not able to get up there last year. In any event, my original question was...would somebody be willing to let me know early next year, from actual observation, if it will be worth my time to drive all the way from Minnesnowta for the event at Keene Valley?

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Old 10-14-2004, 09:40 AM   #13
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How come with all the snow in the Dacks the ave. precipitation for the town of LP is so low? 2.16 inches of precip. in Jan. Dosn't that translate into only about 2 feet of snow?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv..._placid_ny.htm
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Old 10-14-2004, 09:57 AM   #14
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This site has the best (imho) info on back country conditions that I know of.
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Old 10-14-2004, 10:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
How come with all the snow in the Dacks the ave. precipitation for the town of LP is so low? 2.16 inches of precip. in Jan. Dosn't that translate into only about 2 feet of snow?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv..._placid_ny.htm
The peaks "eat" a lot of the snowfall, and depending on which side of the mountain you're on will greatly determine how much precipitation you receive on any given day.

As moist air rises up a mountain the top 'rings out' the moisture, and only what remains translates to valleys on the other side. This shields the valleys from some of the harder snows. I see this in Albany sometimes with Nor'easter (coastal) storms that pulls moisture from the Atlantic Ocean over the Berkshires onto the capital district. Sometimes the Berkshires eat the heavier moisture, and they get 3 feet and Albany only a foot, but we're only geographically 20-30 nautical miles apart (referred to as a 'shadowing effect'). Sometimes this matters, sometimes it doesn't. There's a lot of variables, but in the LP area it's more defined because the larger size of the geopgraphical features have a bigger impact on the areas weather patterns and precipitation totals.
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Old 10-14-2004, 10:11 AM   #16
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BTW, it's not true systems "go around" the Adirondacks, but the D'acks can/do modify weather events as they pass over the mountains.
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:29 AM   #17
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adk Keith
This site has the best (imho) info on back country conditions that I know of.
Thank you. It is a great resource, and I bookmarked it.

Ski safe,
Hans
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Old 10-15-2004, 10:54 PM   #18
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North Country Snow Report

Trailpatrol,

I apologize for being so late to respond to this thread, but in addition to the weather cams at ORDA and numerous other north country weather stations, Paul Smith’s College has two weather cams located on their campus that can be found at:

http://www.paulsmiths.edu/page.pl?page=675

If you scroll down the page a bit, there is a photograph (AWI WeatherCam--click picture below for latest image) that can be activated to see the current outside conditions at the college. In addition, during the winter, one of the cams is focused on a "snow totem" that is painted in 12" increments that can give you a fair assessment of the snow depth (at least at that location). Granted, the elevation of Paul Smith’s College (1630 feet) is higher than Keene Valley (1016 feet), but at least you get an up-to-date, rough sampling of conditions in the general area. As mentioned in a few other replies, another helpful website in determining snow conditions is:

http://www.lakeplacid.com/flash/whattodo/z-xcountry.htm

Although it is basically a XC ski site (reporting on various XC ski venues), the information on backcountry conditions -- such as the snow depth at Lake Colden or at 4000 feet can be helpful.

Both of the noted websites are fairly good indicators of what’s happening in the High Peaks Region. This information along with several other Adirondack weather sites (the VIC in Newcomb, NY also has a snow depth and winter condition posting) is usually how I gauge the approximate conditions from back here in the “flatlands”.

Think snow!

Pete Hogan
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