Converting Summer Rain to Winter Pow

Just like any good Vermonter, we LOVE all 5 of the seasons around here – yes, that’s right 5! Spring, summer, fall, winter and mud season, of course!

But this summer’s challenging weather has us scratching our heads a bit. It’s sort of like a right of passage around here that while we love winter, come April most everyone’s ready for longer days filled with sunshine and Vitamin D. And gosh darnit, summer’s the time we’re supposed to refill that serotonin cup. Well, summer 2023 has been a bit more fickle with that great big yellow thing in the sky hiding behind persistent clouds and so. much. rain. Truly historic amounts.

And as if the flooding that devastated several nearby communities in Vermont in mid July wasn’t enough, it just. kept. raining. Always the optimists and looking for the positive narrative to encourage folks to get outside, we kept holding out hope for a change in the pattern. But after this past Saturday’s annual VMBA Day delivered more unrelenting rain and temps in the 50s most of the day (with some sort of wet snow / nearly frozen precipitation at the top of the mountain late afternoon IN AUGUST) we humbly submit… Points for persistence and consistency this summer, Mother Nature? Well done on that I guess?

Don’t get us wrong – we had several incredible moments on the mountain together this summer – from our incredible summer camps, to wedding guests every weekend making memories to last a lifetime to wonderful evenings on the lawn Wednesdays and Fridays listening to music and watching the sun go down – BUT we’d be lying if we said we didn’t spend much of the summer counting the rain and thinking to that old cliche about rain to snow equivalents. How does that one go again? I think it’s:

An Inch of Rain Would Be a Foot of Snow

Nothing like those October and November snowfalls in the mountains to get the mojo rising…

Give or take anyway… according to the Farmer’s Almanac it “varies depending on the type of snow, but to make 1 inch of water (rain), you need 10 inches of average snow, 4 to 5 inches of wet snow, or 15 inches of powdery snow.” Naturally, all we ever get up here is pow days, but for the sake of this piece we’ll go with a foot per inch (instead of 15” of pow that we’ll actually be getting all winter).

So as the weather data from our Vista Peak weather station confirms, we have received over 21” of rain since the beginning of July – and August still has more than a week to go! Absolutely insane amount of rain that is. (Update added a couple weeks after this post was originally written/published: by the end of August we had received 25+ inches of rain in July & August, yikes!)

So let’s have a little fun with this… let’s just go ahead and say the clock starts on winter snowfall on opening day (which is Friday, November 24 this year – the day after Thanksgiving as always). If history is any guide, we will have already received 2-4 feet of snow here in the upper elevations of northern Vermont’s Green Mountains by that point, but we’ll just pretend it starts that day. Well, 21” of rain in 7 weeks would then mean we see 21 feet of snow by the 2nd week of January 2024! Sounds kind of glamorous, but also, perhaps too much of a good thing?

Fine, we know you’ve been working hard on all that rain Ma Nature, so we’ll let you off the hook with less than 20 feet of snow expected by early January, but hey, we’re just putting it out there. We’ve seen what you can do this summer and in winters past, so let’s just keep that mojo rising into winter, what do you say?

Any way you slice it, with all the improvements and investments to our snowmaking operation, whatever Mother Nature decides to bring our way this winter, we’ll be ready that’s for sure!

If Mother Nature delivers the precipitation this winter the way she did this summer, we’ll hardly need to show off our incredible snowmaking efficiency and capacity improvements… but if she doesn’t give us everything she’s got, we’ll be ready to light the mountain up with myriad guns from top to bottom, side to side.