March 19 Ski conditions + weekend forecast

This post contains section links to More info, Forecast, and Coda.

Summary

Weather and the Covid-19 epidemic have put an early end to the ski season in the northeast. Despite some decent snow cover in the far north country, only a few places remain technically ‘open’, but most of their facilities are closed to the public, and grooming is a courtesy. To paraphrase Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, ‘April skiing rules’ are in effect.

The only ski centers that are still ‘open’ are Trapp Family Lodge and Bear Notch. Jackson is on an ‘honor system’, Great Glen and Crafstbury are doing ‘courtesy grooming’ while not open for operation, and Osceola isn’t charging but may not be grooming either.

More info

With rain on Friday and cold weather on the weekend, the remaining snowpack is going to get thin and icy. No sign of any big snowstorm coming early next week either.

Together and apart, we’re all trying to find a balance between reassurance and anxiety, and it can be a no-win situation as Waterville Valley found. After summarizing efforts the resort made to stay open while limiting the chances of infection transmission, they admitted failure:

Our continuing operations have been met with outcry by many who choose to misrepresent our efforts and have created an environment that has incited people to act irresponsibly to the point of becoming abusive and threatening to our staff. Therefore, regretfully, effective at 4:00pm today, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Waterville Valley Resort will close for winter operations for the 2019/2020 ski season.

Waterville Valley Resort Covid-19 memo, March 18 2020

With much less angst and in light of the risk of virus transmission posed by group outings, AMC activities have been suspended from March 17 through April 30.

Forecast

If you’re going off on your own or with people you live with, you’ll have to deal with rain on Friday before cold weather comes in for the weekend. On Saturday, daytime temps in the north country will be teens to about 40. Downstate temps in the high 30s to about 50. Sunday will be similar in general.

Daytime temps will gradually trend upward starting Sunday. A front will come in overnight Sunday-Monday, bringing some snow showers that will change over to rain Monday evening as temperatures continue to warm, with moderate chance of rain and some spotty snow showers up north on Tuesday.

Coda

You aren’t here for advice about what to do off the snow, but here it is: if you aren’t somewhat panicky, you don’t appreciate the gravity of the situation and the risk it poses to people around you.

But don’t let uncertainty drive you crazy or allow panic to dictate your shopping list. Unlike the zombie apocalypse that some people dread/hope for, we can’t fight nature with tanks and AR-15s, and it’s not realistic to flee to a bunker till a vaccine is distributed.

To get to the other side with our lives and consciences intact, We’ll need to mobilize government, civic infrastructure and citizen solidarity. You know, the stuff a civilization maintains as standard equipment.

After-season analysis to come over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading.

A weird, sad, ending

Except for the White Mountains, where good skiing can still be found, the fat guy has definitely sung his aria:

Tin container opera singer
It’s all over

Between the weather and the escalating Covid-19 epidemic, most ski areas called it quits this weekend, even if they have enough cover to go another week or so.

The exceptions that remain open for now include: Bretton Woods, Jackson XC, Great Glen Trails, Bear Notch Ski Touring, and Waterville Valley, as well as Trapp Family Lodge.

A few select quotes about the end:

In response to escalating concerns of COVID 19 from our guests, and our state and federal government, we have decided to close the Center on Sunday, March 15th, after lunch is served.

Crafstbury Outdoor Center, March 13

Regardless of what happens with weather over the next week or so, this season is coming to an end shortly.  As many of you know this is my last year running the ski center.  I want to thank all who have skied here over the last 40 years.  I hope I have brought some health and enjoyment to everyone.  I know it has been a pleasure to run a ski center and get to interact with one of the greatest group of individuls one could hope to get to know. 

Osceola Tug Hill XC Ski, March 15

Yesterday’s report promised more details today.  Unfortunately, there’s not much good news – at least in the short term. Winter, however, can still make a comeback as it has in several of the past few years… So, we’ll just wait it out and see what happens.  Next report when there is a change worth reporting.  

BETA trail conditions, March 13

At this point, given all that is going on in the world, we probably won’t open back up even if we get a big dumping of snow. 

It’s been a weird winter. Mother Nature sure had her ups and downs. But we all hung in there and made the best of it… Happy spring, stay well. Come see us again next ski season.  

Viking Nordic Center

The snow depth graphic has gotten much grimmer since last weekend:

Snow depth northeast US 2020-0315
Snow depth northeast US, March 15 2020

Well, s**t. I’ll be tracking the end of the season to finish out data collection, and start doing some post-season assessments. Stay tuned for more from the nerdopolis.

A snowball’s chance

You get the idea of what’s coming next.

This post contains section links to More info and Forecast.

Summary

Rain coming Friday will wash out a lot of the remaining cover in some touring centers, so expect some places to be closed for skiing as soon as tomorrow. If you intend to travel for skiing on the weekend, call ski centers Friday afternoon before you leave. ‘State of the touring centers‘ is now updated.

More info

Since last weekend, the cover and depth have shrunk dramatically, to the point that a few ski centers may barely make it through the weekend. Looks like the White Mountains are going to survive the weekend in the best shape.

From the nerdopolis: At a certain point late in the season, I can sense that some places don’t update in part because there’s no good news, and partly because they’ve started to disengage from the season. Especially when conditions change significantly over the span of a day or two, it leaves me to guess a bit on skiability. Fortunately, ski areas are clustered so I can derive some info from a nearby center that does report.

The snow depth graphic for today shows the increasingly grim news:

And to cap off a pretty bad weather week here, the World Cup race event in Minneapolis has been cancelled, a casualty of Covid-19 precautions by various countries and teams.

Forecast

Rain comes in tonight and into early Friday, but cooler weather will predominate for Saturday and Sunday. Breezy 10-20mph winds on Friday and Saturday, predominantly northerly on Friday and shifting easterly on Saturday.

North of the Albany MA-VT/NH border, Saturday high temps will be in the mid-20s to mid-40s. On Sunday, high teens to low 40s. Light winds from the SSE.

Monday starts a warming trend, with high temps from the 20s to low 40s, freezing to high 40s on Tuesday, and upper 30s to low 50s on Wednesday. Light winds from the N-NNE.

Moderate chance of precipitation Tuesday to Wednesday, which may flip back and forth between rain and snow up north, but it won’t be doing much good that way.

Of course, the next thing that happens is:

mud and bootprints
Yep, mud season’s coming

Updates may start getting infrequent, as there will be less and less to report. Thanks for reading.