Northeast

The snowfall in the Green Mountains of Vermont from Killington to Jay Peak is in the range of some of the western resorts. Other lift-serviced areas of the Northeast receive less than 200 inches per year. Since most lift-serviced skiing occurs between 1,500 and 4,000 feet in New England, rain must be considered a chronic threat. Unlike the Pacific states, major storms that can resurface a ski area in packed powder are rare in the East. Surface conditions are also negatively impacted by high skier density. The above considerations have led the major eastern areas to their large investments in snowmaking and grooming. In contrast to most western areas, snowmaking in the East includes most advanced terrain. Also, snowmaking capacity is so large that snow coverage in November and December can be better than many western areas. In the East, latitude plays more of a role than altitude; natural snow surface conditions are generally better and last longer in the Québec City area than southern Québec or New England, regardless of exposure.

Snow reporting is not an exact science. The Mansfield Stake measurements in this table (**) are taken from the WCAX-TV transmitter on Mt. Mansfield. They are comprehensive and independent, and the WCAX daily records since 1982 allow me greater understanding of eastern weather as I do not ski there very often. However, WCAX takes daily measurements at 4PM vs. the general weather station practice of measuring around 6AM and also measures new snow in a container vs. on a snow board. These factors explain the lower snowfall measurements vs. the Stowe and Smuggler's Notch ski areas. Jay since 2000 measures 2 locations and only quotes the higher during ski season. The average of higher and lower figures (still highest in the East) is more consistent with Jay's historical data and is used here for recent seasons in computing long-term stats. I make a similar adjustment to Kirkwood's data in California.

There are two tables below: The first contains all the statistics while the second contains summary information plus comments and analysis.


Explanation of Column Headings
Home Page and Other Regions

  Lift Serviced   Season Dec.-Mar. Percent Percent Average        
NORTHEAST Altitude Season Standard 6+ Inch High Mths Low Mths Maximum Direction of Exposure
  Range Average Deviation Powder Days GE 90 in. LT 30 in. Base Depth North East West South
                       
Mt. Washington, N. H. 6,262 N/A 297 87 10.8% 5% 16% N/A Mainly East
Stratton, Vt. 3,875 1,933-3,936 188 48 7.9% 1% 41% N/A 38% 50% 2% 10%
Killington, Vt. 4,142 1,160-4,200 241 56 10.5% 6% 20% N/A 35% 55% 0% 15%
Mt. Snow, Vt. 3,600 1,900-3,600 167 40 7.2% 0% 48% N/A 30% 50% 0% 20%
Sugarbush, Vt. 3,000 1,535-4,135 269 56 11.3% 6% 14% N/A 28% 60% 0% 12%
Okemo, Vt. 3,300 1,150-3,300 167 51 6.9% 1% 57% N/A 20% 60% 0% 20%
Stowe, Vt. 3,014 1,559-3,719 304 63 13.0% 8% 14% N/A 35% 50% 0% 15%
**Mansfield Stake, Vt.** 3,950 1,559-3,719 222 48 8.8% 1% 26% 92 35% 50% 0% 15%
Smuggler's Notch, Vt. 1,600 1,030-3,640 321 70 13.0% 7% 12% N/A 65% 0% 35% 0%
Jay Peak, Vt. 3,000 1,850-4,000 320 69 14.9% 21% 8% N/A 40% 57% 0% 3%
Whiteface (Lake Placid), N. Y. 3,660 1,200-4,416 183 61 7.0% 1% 56% N/A 10% 65% 0% 25%
Cannon Mt., N. H. 1,800 1,800-4,200 161 45 7.4% 1% 48% N/A 70% 20% 10% 0%
Loon, N. H. 2,000 900-3,000 169 57 6.2% 0% 54% N/A 60% 10% 30% 0%
Waterville Valley, N. H. 3,000 1,984-4,004 139 42 6.3% 0% 58% N/A 25% 60% 0% 15%
Sugarloaf, Maine 3,695 1,400-4,237 173 59 7.8% 0% 44% N/A 70% 15% 15% 0%
Mt. Sutton, Que. 2,000 1,312-2,755 238 51 10.4% 5% 15% N/A 70% 20% 10% 0%
Mt. Ste. Anne, Que. 600 600-2,650 131 20 6.0% 0% 64% N/A 30% 0% 10% 60%
Le Massif, Que. 2,600 118-2,645 234 77 9.4% 2% 32% N/A 0% 30% 10% 60%
Snowshoe, W. V. 4,848 3,348-4,848 158 37 7.6% 1% 45% N/A 10% 60% 25% 5%
Mt. Bohemia, Mich. 800 600-1,500 247 58 11.1% 10% 30% N/A 0% 25% 25% 50%

  Lift Serviced      
NORTHEAST Altitude Season Weather Restrictions, Powder Potential  
  Range Average and Other Considerations Best Time to Ski
         
Mt. Washington, N. H. 6,262 N/A 297 Tuckerman Ravine is a shrine, mecca, altar of personal sacrifice. Extreme weather, extreme terrain. Rarely skied before spring, but east-facing cirque holds snow until June. April/May
Stratton, Vt. 3,875 1,933-3,936 188 Best in southern Vermont for snowfall, terrain mix; unfortunately often crowded. January-March. Probability of rain much higher in November and spring
Killington, Vt. 4,142 1,160-4,200 241 Extensive snowmaking allows area to open earlier and close later than other areas. Skiing on upper mountain until June most years. As above.
Mt. Snow, Vt. 3,600 1,900-3,600 167 Rivals Stratton as largest and most diverse area in southern Vermont.  Large lift capacity and large crowds. As above.
Sugarbush, Vt. 3,000 1,535-4,135 269 Castle Rock area may be best natural terrain pod in the East, but often closed for lack of coverage. Nearby Mad River Glen is comparable in snowfall, terrain quality and natural snow dependence. Elsewhere Sugarbush has extensive snowmaking. As above.
Okemo, Vt. 3,300 1,150-3,300 167 Intermediate oriented area with strong reputation for grooming and snowmaking. As above.
Stowe, Vt. 3,014 1,559-3,719 304 Ski area is leeward of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. Great off-piste skiing in forests after snowfalls. Can be very crowded. As above.
**Mansfield Stake, Stowe, Vt.** 3,950 1,559-3,719 222 Steep and technical backcountry lines above and beyond the Stowe and Smuggler's lifts. February/March for maximum snow coverage.
Smuggler's Notch, Vt. 1,600 1,030-3,640 321 Snowfall and wind are higher here on the opposite side of the Green Mountains from Stowe.  Reputation as a family area, but good glades and moguls also. January-March. Probability of rain much higher in November and spring.
Jay Peak, Vt. 1,800 1,850-4,000 320 Highest natural snow ski area in northeast U.S. Jay is subject to both Great Lakes and Atlantic storms; excellent glades and liberal O.B. policies. As above.
Whiteface (Lake Placid), N. Y. 3,660 1,200-4,416 183 Biggest vertical drop in East; can be biggest vertical ice sheet in east because of wind exposure. Best skiing can be found on narrow runs where snow collects. As above. Steep Slides area more likely open late season.
Cannon Mt., N. H. 1,800 1,800-4,200 161 Historic area with good natural terrain and classic backcountry descents. Powder frequently available at abandoned Mittersill ski area next door. Less competition than many other New Hampshire areas. As above.
Loon, N. H. 2,000 900-3,000 169 Best cruiser mountain in N.H.  Freeway convenience means weekend crowds. As above.
Waterville Valley, N. H. 3,000 1,984-4,004 139 Bumper and racer paradise. Powder a rarity. As above.
Sugarloaf, Maine 3,695 1,400-4,237 173 Best skiing in Maine. Upper snowfields frequently wind-scoured but fun in new snow when they’re not. February to March+, snowfield coverage and northern latitude make peak season later than other NE areas
Mt. Sutton, Que. 2,000 1,312-2,755 238 Canadian extension of Green Mountains. Snowfall lower than northern Vermont but much more than other Quebec township areas. Noted for sheltered north-facing glades. January-March. Probability of rain much higher in November and spring.
Mt. St. Anne, Que. 600 600-2,650 131 Snowfall data indexed to Quebec City airport, therefore typical for base, but closer to 200 at top. Surface conditions generally good December-February because less thaw and rain than New England. Can be very crowded, but skier densities lower on north side. December-March for snow, March for more comfortable air temperatures.
Le Massif, Que. 2,600 118-2,645 234 Snowfall boosted relative to other Quebec areas by "lake effect" from unfrozen Gulf of St. Lawrence. Skier densities lower than areas closer to Quebec City. December-March for snow. March has more comfortable air temperatures, but surfaces can be more variable with south exposure.
Snowshoe, W. V. 4,848 3,348-4,848 158 Tallest mid Atlantic area is also snowiest.  No mountains as high between Snowshoe and the Great Lakes. January and February for coverage, surface conditions
Mt. Bohemia, Mich. 800 600-1,500 247 Most challenging Midwest area with glades and mimimal grooming. Keweenaw peninsula jutting into Lake Superior gets the most lake effect snowfall in North America. Late December - February for coverage, maximum lake effect snowfall

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