The Skiing Weatherman Conditions Report: Jan 1 - Jan 5
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
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 RI in 2013
#13 A New Look Big East
The Providence-based Big East Conference officially broke up in 2013 after an agreement was reached with the "Catholic 7" basketball-centric schools.
The agreement between the Big East and the Catholic 7 -- Providence, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- allowed those schools to keep the Big East name and the right to play their basketball post-season tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. They also added three new teams -- Butler, Xavier, and Creighton -- making for a 10-team league.
The remaining (original) Big East schools; such as Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, and others, now play in the renamed American Athletic Conference.
#12 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.
#11 PC Friar Arrested
GoLocalProv broke news that Ladontae Henton of the Providence College men's basketball team was arrested on domestic violence charges in May.
The 6'6" forward from Lansing, MI, is considered to be a potential future first-round NBA draft pick.
Henton has remained a Friar for 2013-14, putting up big numbers (12.3 PPG and 7.6 RPG) so far this season.
#10 The Brothers Murphy
Erik, Alex, and Tomas Murphy; three Rhode Island brothers, made big basketball news in 2013.
First, Erik, the eldest brother, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 49th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Florida.
Next, GoLocal broke the news that Alex Murphy had officially transferred from Duke, following his brother's path, and headed to Gainesville to play under Billy Donovan at Florida.
Then, GoLocal's Jack Andrade reported that the youngest Murphy, Tomas, a 6'8" freshman at Prout, had already been offered D1 scholarships by Maryland, Boston College, Florida, URI, PC, and Bryant.
#9 Demetrius Andrade
In November, Providence boxer Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade became the latest world champion on the New England sports scene.
Andrade stayed undefeated and won his first world title defeating Vanes Martirosyan at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX by split decision to claim the vacant WBO junior middleweight title.
The official call was a split decision for Andrade, a former US Olympian, who won on scores of 117-110, 114-113, and 112-115.
#8 Bryant Hires Skinner
Al Skinner returned to the New England coaching scene in 2013-14, taking the job as Assistant Coach of the Bryant Bulldogs basketball team under Tim O'Shea.
Skinner, the former head coach at URI and Boston College, was the National Coach of the Year in 2001. He has a record of 385-291 in 22 seasons as a head coach.
#7 Jay Elliot Arrest
Jay Elliot, the founder and top coach of the Rhode Island Hawks was arrested on child porn charges in November, sending shock waves through the regional basketball scene.
Elliot, one of New England's best known AAU coaches has been a major player in the development of top college bound basketball talent for ten years in New England.
#6 Ricky Ledo
In April, GoLocal's John Rooke broke the news that Providence College freshman, Ricky Ledo would leave the Friars for the NBA Draft without ever playing a single NCAA game.
That decision has not yet proven to be a great choice for the 6'6" shooter, as his name was not called until the middle of the second round of the draft.
Ledo was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks, traded to Philadelphia, then to the Dallas Mavericks.
#5 Bryant Bulldogs
In just their first year of NCAA Division I eligibility, the Bryant Bulldogs made the postseason in both basketball and baseball.
The Bulldog baseball team won the NEC Conference tournament in 2013, securing their spot in the NCAA Baseball Championship Tournament. They faced the perennial powerhouse Arkansas, where they stole one game, before ultimately falling to the Razorbacks.
#4 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 remaining 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 -- to win the game and making the series even at 1-1. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series.
Read GoLocal's list of the Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports history here .
#3 PC's Recruiting Class
The Ed Cooley era at PC has been impressive thus far, but not only for his on-court accomplishments.
Cooley has also proven to be quite an effective recruiter, and in 2013, built one of the nation's best classes.
This year, Cooley brought in three Top-100 recruits; Jalen Lindsey, a 6’7 small forward from Franklin, TN; Ben Bentil, a 6'8" forward from Delaware; and the 7'1" center Pashcal Chukwu, widely considered to be among best defensive big men in the nation.
#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.
#1 Marathon Bombing
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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