Last licks 4/5

As of today (Monday) Mt van Hoevenberg is hanging tough with their 5k’s of the New Competition, Bobcat, and Mini loops. They say ‘Ski it while you can’ and advise “frozen granular base groomed this morning”, and “Spring Conditions will likely return this afternoon.”

Barkeater Trails Alliance’s final message for the season:

And unless something dramatic changes, this will be the last report of the season.  It all seemed to end too quickly, but at least we can remember those solid weeks of perfect powder conditions earlier in the winter.  

Barkeater Trails Alliance ski conditions 4/1/21

The graphic below shows the scant snow depth, and the logical tendency for touring centers to cluster at or near where natural geography and local climate favors a better snowpack

Snow depth northeast U.S., Apr. 5 2021, with ski touring centers marked
Snow depth northeast U.S., Apr. 5 2021 (NOAA) with ski touring centers marked

Closing the curtain on the 20/21 season

The final fizzled snowstorm up north was our April Fool’s joke coming right at the end of the season. I didn’t want to make light of the season by posting yesterday- that would have felt cruel.

Quick retrospective

  • The Coronavirus pandemic created a stampede on purchase of outdoors equipment, including cross-country skis. Prospects that this could prove to be an unusual season were borne out anecdotally. Ski touring centers scrambled to position themselves to be ready. But were plans and economics upset by travel restrictions or staffing issues?
  • A slow start to the XC season yielded to a great mid-season for many of us. But the fantastic February for downstate NY and the mid-Hudson region obscured the fact that the snowpack was short of norms in the north country. Barkeater Trail Alliance says it’s pretty much over for most of the backcountry as well. Reasons for the fast-disappearing snowpack are covered in a post on the Facebook page ‘Northeast skiology
  • The entire World Cup racing season seemed weird. Norway took a month off from the circuit, and got so nervous that races had to find other venues late in the season. Weather wasn’t so wintry at the World Championships: national teams cut up their uniforms into shorts and short sleeves to race in 50-degree weather in Obserstdorf Germany.
  • On a high note, Jessie Diggins won the crystal globes for both overall and distance points.
Krista Pärmäkoski of Finland and Jessie Diggins of the USA racing in shorts and short sleeves due to warm temperatures
Krista Pärmäkoski and Jessie Diggins racing in temps above 50 degrees. (Photo: NordicFocus, via Fasterskier)

Final state of the touring centers

A late blow of snow put a few inches across the north country, but since most centers were already closed, and ground was largely bare, it didn’t do any good. The only areas where extra XC skiing might be possible are some public parks and trails in far northern Vermont or New York, and the trails at Mt van Hoevenberg where a few manmade loops plus some flatland with a touch-up of new snow are open.

As an aside, at this time of year I usually find some touring centers basically abandon their website at the season end without saying goodbye formally. The naughty list of season-enders that left their last post up this year are:

  • Bear Notch
  • Cascade
  • Grafton Trails

For what it’s worth, ‘State of the touring centers‘ is updated. NOHRSC servers seem to be offline today, so here’s a graphic of snowfall for the past 48 hours in the northeast. The lightest blue is for 1″. No area seemed to get more than 4″, which matches observations posted by ski areas.

NOAA northeast US snowfall or 48hrs ending 12:00z, April 2 2021
NOAA snowfall analysis for 48hrs ending 12:00z, April 2 2021

Yep, it’s time to clean those skis and give them a coat of wax for storage.

Ostersonntag kommt 4/4

Summary

Easter is this Sunday and the Waterville Valley Ski Touring Center director’s note says: ‘Stick a fork in it’ for this season. If you really want it you can ski in a couple of places- for groomed trails only Mt. van Hoevenberg is still up, with its 5k manmade loop. State parks and other public lands up north and at elevation may still have some cover.

Keep the gravel and shovels handy for one more week. A late-spring storm could put a few inches down on Thursday night in the most northern and higher elevations of the northeast, meaning a shot at skiable conditions in April on ‘rock skis’ for a few lucky folks.

Conditions

BETA report is hanging hope on a late-season snowstorm. The High Peaks is in a zone where several inches of snow could fall after the rains midweek. Had our region not experienced two weeks of above-normal temps, many areas might have kept a base that could get a refresh later this week. Ah well.

Because I’m tracking the season from open to close, ‘State of the touring centers‘ is updated, for what it’s worth. The last bits of the snowpack are shown in the graphic below:

Snow depth northeast US, Mar. 29 2021 (NWS) , with ski centers marked
Snow depth northeast US, Mar. 29 2021 (NWS) , with ski centers marked

Forecast

Blustery today (Monday) and cool. Spotty snow showers early in the day. Areas at elevation as far south as Lake Minnewaska could get a few inches of snow.

Significant precipitation expected starting Wednesday, with some possible river flooding due to rain and snow melt. By Thursday late afternoon, precipitation could become snow in far northern New York and Vermont, where elevated areas might get 6″ of late-season snowfall by Friday morning.