Rating the 2016-2017 Season Versus the Last 10 Years

joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
edited February 10 in NELSAP Forum Posts: 1,417
Well folks: With Feb. 8 nominally being the mid-point of this season, it's time to begin obsessing as to where this season fits in with the last 10 years.  What follows is last years final summary:
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Final 2015-6 Summary of this plus the last 10 years:  No real changes to report.

2010-1: Good snow Xmas, MLK and pres. week. No January thaw to speak of.
2012-3: While there was little snow in December and January, February and March have been epic. The snow that did happen in December was right before Christmas week which was timely from an economic point-of-view. Same was true of the January snow with respect to MLK weekend. Although there was minimal early snowfall, there was a lot of good snowmaking weather in December. There were two nasty January thaws, but great mid-winter skiing right into April. Ski areas closing with 100% full-width open trails.
2013-2014: The fact is, the season had a promising start, but two major meltdowns really put a damper on the season. Mad River Glen was all but shut down for a couple of weeks in January. January was unusually cold. We had a great Feb. vacation week, ending in a thaw that pretty much "firmed up" the surfaces followed by a major cold snap. The skiing in March was epic from Killington north and pretty good elsewhere. Superb skiing continued in April. Those in the Mid-Atlantic states might rate this season as #1.
2008-9: Early ice storm, superb Jan./Feb.
2014-5: Early season: - No October skiing, but great from mid-November to mid-December; Christmas: Rain - pretty well killed the business for the week; January including MLK Weekend: Bad - not much snow, not much business; February: Unbelievably great snow, but record cold weather kept the crowds away; Late season was great with Killington going until Memorial Day.
2007-8: Lots of rain and temp swings
2009-10: slow start to season, early ending
2005-6: decent start with some snow and cold temps, Xmas week was a washout and March was almost completely snow-less.
2006-7: Bad start; bad finish; good middle
2011-2: After October blockbuster storm, almost no natural snow all season. While the skiing was adequate on snowmaking trails, natural snow glade skiing and other aspects of the sport that involved natural snow, never materialized
2015-6: After a flurry of mid-October skiing at Killington and Sunday River, things went dead for 3 weeks or so. December was one of the warmest in history with almost no snowmaking opportunities.  Much of ski country did not even open until after Christmas. The absence of natural snow has minimized glade skiing. Mad River was open a grand total of 45 days and 1/3 of those were Practice Slope only.  Killington ran until May 29 despite receiving only 1/3 of its normal snow total. Most areas closed 2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual.  A few old timers remember seasons this bad but not in the last 10 year.
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An initial observation:
Early season: Excellent, but only at Killington
Snowfall: Average to average plus
Economics: Excellent Christmas week both weather-wise and snow; MLK Weekend was excellent despite a generally poor January
February: Off to a gangbuster start

My initial placement would be between 3 and 5 with lots of potential to move up or down:  Your thoughts

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Comments

  • Posts: 1,677
    It's been overall pretty average so far. Some places have had a better than normal winter so far while others have had it worse off than normal. However it looks like this winter may soon be moving towards the better than normal side.
    - Sam
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 900

    It's been overall pretty average so far. Some places have had a better than normal winter so far while others have had it worse off than normal. However it looks like this winter may soon be moving towards the better than normal side.

    +1   
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 110
    I haven't gotten out as much as I would have liked. A lot of my days off were not so great weather. Despite that, I have had some excellent days - a recent one at Killington, Okemo, and Catamount that were decent. My 3 days of xc skiing were fantastic. JD
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing advanced
    Posts: 477
    Slowly getting pretty excellent in VT. Storm Sunday night will help put finishing touches on really good cover. Fingers crossed it all stays around for Prez week.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417
    NELSAP said:

    I haven't gotten out as much as I would have liked. A lot of my days off were not so great weather. Despite that, I have had some excellent days - a recent one at Killington, Okemo, and Catamount that were decent. My 3 days of xc skiing were fantastic. JD

    I suppose the fact you were not motivated to get out more is a statement in and of itself that it is )at least for now) a below average season.  Is that correct?

    And to lotsoskiing: It seems like VT did better than most of New England this season. Not so?
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 110
    Below average for our neck of the woods for alpine. We only got 4" of snow in January, which was the warmest on record - +11.2 degrees in Glens Falls. Yuck.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    edited February 11 Posts: 214
    Many of us were hiking for turns in October and then November was not great (though K hosted a World Cup, that has to count for something). December was one of the better ones in recent memory. But January was one of the worst I have seen (excepting New Year's Day, that was absolutely epic). February looks like it could go big. It seems like we are going every other month is either unusually good or unusually bad. 

    Goodness knows I never judge a season early, but I gotta raise an eye brow when this thread gets started before we even can factor in the biggest week of the year for the resorts. That said, the season is certainly and easily above the bottom third of the pack. If the cold and snowy trend continues in February and we have a good spring, the season could certainly end up in the top third of seasons. Who knows, I am not even halfway done with my season. 
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    edited February 11 Posts: 1,417
    Many of us were hiking for turns in October and then November was not great (though K hosted a World Cup, that has to count for something). December was one of the better ones in recent memory. But January was one of the worst I have seen (excepting New Year's Day, that was absolutely epic). February looks like it could go big. It seems like we are going every other month is either unusually good or unusually bad. 

    Goodness knows I never judge a season early, but I gotta raise an eye brow when this thread gets started before we even can factor in the biggest week of the year for the resorts. That said, the season is certainly and easily above the bottom third of the pack. If the cold and snowy trend continues in February and we have a good spring, the season could certainly end up in the top third of seasons. Who knows, I am not even halfway done with my season. 
    I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    And riverc0il: We've both been on SJ long enough to know that both of us are predictable.  I bring up this subject every year in Feb. and you reply that it's too early. :))

    But seriously, I know that when I go to a play, I often discuss the quality of the play at intermission or a football game at half-time.  I suspect that most people would have mis-assessed the Super Bowl this year at half-time!  IMO, that doesn't minimize the fun of discussing it!

    A summary of the response to date: Most of the response has the season so far as average.  I have it as average+ because as awful as November was, Killington never missed a day; December was good; as awful as January was, we got the MLK weekend; and Feb. to date has been exceptional.

    I can see that those who do not consider the overall timing of condx for the busy seasons (Xmas week and MLK) would probably have it as average to average-minus.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 214

    But seriously, I know that when I go to a play, I often discuss the quality of the play at intermission or a football game at half-time.  I suspect that most people would have mis-assessed the Super Bowl this year at half-time!  IMO, that doesn't minimize the fun of discussing it!

    Your analogy falls a bit short because of the name of the thread. If the thread was "What are your thoughts halfway through the season?" then it analogs well with your halftime example of asking people about the first half of the game. 

    I've tempered my criticism of the end of season thread being too early, I used to flame pretty hard about it. Now I just enjoy giving you the business. :) Perhaps I am not remembering correctly, but I can't remember you making this post before President's Week before.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417
    riverc0il said:

    But seriously, I know that when I go to a play, I often discuss the quality of the play at intermission or a football game at half-time.  I suspect that most people would have mis-assessed the Super Bowl this year at half-time!  IMO, that doesn't minimize the fun of discussing it!

    Your analogy falls a bit short because of the name of the thread. If the thread was "What are your thoughts halfway through the season?" then it analogs well with your halftime example of asking people about the first half of the game. 

    I've tempered my criticism of the end of season thread being too early, I used to flame pretty hard about it. Now I just enjoy giving you the business. :) Perhaps I am not remembering correctly, but I can't remember you making this post before President's Week before.
    I suspect that my choice of the title was indicative that while this may be a "half-time" discussion at the end of the season, I'll post what I understand to be the consensus of the participants on this thread.

    You are correct that I usually post it closer to Pres. Day vacation. But I saw a thread with a similar concept on Alpine zone at the end of January (which I thought was too early since it wasn't even at the halfway mark).

    Regardless, one of the things I like about SJ is that we may disagree, but except for a troll here and there, not much flaming on SJ - what little there is IMO is just good natured fun.
  • marcskimarcski advanced
    Posts: 195
    1) Way too early, Joshua.

    2) I also basically agree with Riv.

    3) Everyrhing, even the woods were starting to set up nicely the last couple of weekends. Yesterday and today were pretty amazing. A foot+ is predicted for tomorrow and tomorrow night. Another storm Tues-Wed and this Presidents Day week is looking to be set up really nicely.

    4) I am becoming even more addicted to sliding on snow since I started tele skiing about 2 years ago. I can't gwt enough.

    5) As a result of my newfound tele addiction, I have gotten a pretty good number of days (considering I still am a full-time working stiff) in this season and am set up for a wonderful 2nd half.

    I will repost in this thread in May.

  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing advanced
    Posts: 477
    Getting pretty epic right now in CVT...get to the slopes tomorrow!
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417

    Getting pretty epic right now in CVT...get to the slopes tomorrow!

    I suspect the season has notched up a bit with the storms of the week of Feb. 7 to 13!


  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 214
    And more to come Weds into Thurs. Even if we have a bad spring, this season is certainly above average now. It would take continued good snow into March and great spring skiing April/May to make it into the top tier. But if we broke up ratings by quarters, this is definitely 3/4 right as the season stands currently.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417
    Well, since Presidents' Day (the 20th) this season has turned ugly.  In the placing this season, I'd now put it 7 or 8 (Remember: there are 11 positions, so even if the season ended tomorrow, it's still better than last year!)
  • montebedimontebedi novice
    Posts: 18

    Well, since Presidents' Day (the 20th) this season has turned ugly.  In the placing this season, I'd now put it 7 or 8 (Remember: there are 11 positions, so even if the season ended tomorrow, it's still better than last year!)

    Not saying much to be better than last season.  Looking at in negative what has this season done for me lately lens I have been saying it looks like two poor seasons back to back.  Looking mainly at a likely early end to the season, but we are not at the end yet so things could take a turn for the better.
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,010
    montebedi said:

    Well, since Presidents' Day (the 20th) this season has turned ugly.  In the placing this season, I'd now put it 7 or 8 (Remember: there are 11 positions, so even if the season ended tomorrow, it's still better than last year!)

    Not saying much to be better than last season.  Looking at in negative what has this season done for me lately lens I have been saying it looks like two poor seasons back to back.  Looking mainly at a likely early end to the season, but we are not at the end yet so things could take a turn for the better.
    Hey Monte! Still teaching ?

    Wow over 8 years since Camelback and 4 since Dutchess,( you were at the Dutchess hike weren't you?)

    Winter of 13/14 the best here , this year avg at best
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 900
    Hunter West closed, Montage closed and hoping to re-open, Wisp closed for the season, Mad River Glen was talking about corn snow in FEBRUARY, Loon posted a photo of slush and bragged about great spring conditions last weekend, and right now on the Mount Snow summit cam it's blurry from rain but appears that Noah is gathering gopher wood.

    Looks grim but I think we need to wait and see before we assess
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    Posts: 81

    Hunter West closed, Montage closed and hoping to re-open, Wisp closed for the season, Mad River Glen was talking about corn snow in FEBRUARY, Loon posted a photo of slush and bragged about great spring conditions last weekend, and right now on the Mount Snow summit cam it's blurry from rain but appears that Noah is gathering gopher wood.


    Looks grim but I think we need to wait and see before we assess
    Just to clarify; Montage is closed due to a power outage. Last weekends storm knocked down power lines to the mountain. There was a tornado not far away.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    edited March 1 Posts: 214
    riverc0il said:

    And more to come Weds into Thurs. Even if we have a bad spring, this season is certainly above average now. It would take continued good snow into March and great spring skiing April/May to make it into the top tier. But if we broke up ratings by quarters, this is definitely 3/4 right as the season stands currently.

    I still stand by my previous assessment. There were so many amazing days this year that they made up for several warm spells. I noted that even if we have a bad spring, the season was a 7 out 10 (on a 1-10 rating scale, not 7 compared to 11 other seasons). 

    It seems like this season went in four week swings. October had great natural snow for earned turners which was followed by four weeks of really sub-par early season. December went big but that ended after New Year's Day. Then the end of January started a few cold and snowy weeks which ended President's Day weekend. The past 10 days of been one of the worst mid-winter meltdowns that I have seen but it will get cold and snowy again soon and perhaps we can have some good spring skiing, stay tuned.

    The bads were REALLY bad this season. But the goods were also REALLY good. I've had some really deep days this week, so much so that boot deep powder would have almost become blasé if the snow was better between the knee to thigh deep days. But the bads were super bad too... I am only up to 12 days this season. Last year I got 19. I normally average 35+. Just not worth bothering more often than not this season...

    ...but those epic days were really good. And I am a big proponent of quality over quantity.

    Still not a great season... but not a total failure like last year either. I've had many consistent seasons with far fewer big storms that I would rate lower than this season. Against the past 11 seasons, perhaps slightly above mid-point. Could go higher with a great March-May, especially if we continue to get those big storms when the going is good.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing advanced
    Posts: 477
    Absolutely gruesome right now...
  • CannonballCannonball intermediate
    Posts: 85
    riverc0il said:

    riverc0il said:

    And more to come Weds into Thurs. Even if we have a bad spring, this season is certainly above average now. It would take continued good snow into March and great spring skiing April/May to make it into the top tier. But if we broke up ratings by quarters, this is definitely 3/4 right as the season stands currently.

    I still stand by my previous assessment. There were so many amazing days this year that they made up for several warm spells. I noted that even if we have a bad spring, the season was a 7 out 10 (on a 1-10 rating scale, not 7 compared to 11 other seasons). 

    It seems like this season went in four week swings. October had great natural snow for earned turners which was followed by four weeks of really sub-par early season. December went big but that ended after New Year's Day. Then the end of January started a few cold and snowy weeks which ended President's Day weekend. The past 10 days of been one of the worst mid-winter meltdowns that I have seen but it will get cold and snowy again soon and perhaps we can have some good spring skiing, stay tuned.

    The bads were REALLY bad this season. But the goods were also REALLY good. I've had some really deep days this week, so much so that boot deep powder would have almost become blasé if the snow was better between the knee to thigh deep days. But the bads were super bad too... I am only up to 12 days this season. Last year I got 19. I normally average 35+. Just not worth bothering more often than not this season...

    ...but those epic days were really good. And I am a big proponent of quality over quantity.

    Still not a great season... but not a total failure like last year either. I've had many consistent seasons with far fewer big storms that I would rate lower than this season. Against the past 11 seasons, perhaps slightly above mid-point. Could go higher with a great March-May, especially if we continue to get those big storms when the going is good.
    I was trying to find the words to say exactly this.

    I've had a few crappy days this season, but I didn't mind them very much because evertime I was still riding the high from an AMAZING day. I will take that any time. An Eastern skier (snowboarder, surfer, biker, hiker...) lives off of the ingrained memories of those rare perfect days. I still remember a single perfect wave I caught in 1991, and a single powder turn in 1995. This season has already imprinted a couple of days/runs/turns that I won't ever forget.

    If the next 3 months are great, the season will be (personally) in the Hall of Fame. If the next 3 months are crap, the season will still have some permanently memorable days. I assume that I still have 10-12 weeks left to the season. I know this season won't be marked down in the 'loss' column.

    I also have 2 weeks coming up in the CAN Rockies but I'm not even including those in my assessment of "our" season.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    edited March 2 Posts: 1,417
    First shot at this season:
    2010-1: Good snow Xmas, MLK and pres. week. No January thaw to speak of.
    2012-3: While there was little snow in December and January, February and March have been epic. The snow that did happen in December was right before Christmas week which was timely from an economic point-of-view. Same was true of the January snow with respect to MLK weekend. Although there was minimal early snowfall, there was a lot of good snowmaking weather in December. There were two nasty January thaws, but great mid-winter skiing right into April. Ski areas closing with 100% full-width open trails.
    2013-2014: The fact is, the season had a promising start, but two major meltdowns really put a damper on the season. Mad River Glen was all but shut down for a couple of weeks in January. January was unusually cold. We had a great Feb. vacation week, ending in a thaw that pretty much "firmed up" the surfaces followed by a major cold snap. The skiing in March was epic from Killington north and pretty good elsewhere. Superb skiing continued in April. Those in the Mid-Atlantic states might rate this season as #1.
    2008-9: Early ice storm, superb Jan./Feb.
    2014-5: Early season: - No October skiing, but great from mid-November to mid-December; Christmas: Rain - pretty well killed the business for the week; January including MLK Weekend: Bad - not much snow, not much business; February: Unbelievably great snow, but record cold weather kept the crowds away; Late season was great with Killington going until Memorial Day.
    2007-8: Lots of rain and temp swings
    2016-7: Early season: Excellent, but only at Killington; Snowfall: Average to average plus; Economics: Excellent Christmas week both weather-wise and snow; MLK Weekend was excellent despite a generally poor January; February: Thru the 15th: epic; Presidents day thru Mar. 1 - gruesome
    2009-10: slow start to season, early ending
    2006-7: Bad start; bad finish; good middle
    2011-2: After October blockbuster storm, almost no natural snow all season. While the skiing was adequate on snowmaking trails, natural snow glade skiing and other aspects of the sport that involved natural snow, never materialized
    2015-6: After a flurry of mid-October skiing at Killington and Sunday River, things went dead for 3 weeks or so. December was one of the warmest in history with almost no snowmaking opportunities.  Much of ski country did not even open until after Christmas. The absence of natural snow has minimized glade skiing. Mad River was open a grand total of 45 days and 1/3 of those were Practice Slope only.  Killington ran until May 29 despite receiving only 1/3 of its normal snow total. Most areas closed 2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual.  A few old timers remember seasons this bad but not in the last 10 year.



    In commenting on riverc0il's his recent posting: "...but those epic days were really good. And I am a big proponent of quality over quantity." I believe that the worst season has great days and the best season has horrific days.  If one cherry picks one's skiing days, every season is #1.  This thread is more an attempt to categorize the season as an entity rather than individual great days.

    Updates will continue as the season progresses.  Still room to move up or down, but it will take something epicly bad or good to move up or down more than 2 places.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 214
    The difference between epic days and horrific days is that I don't ski on horrific days. I cherry pick my ski days and rank them amongst those cherry picked days in other seasons, so it is relative and a valid way to rank the season. It is just the perspective of someone that only skis when the snow is good vs. someone that goes out and skis no matter what. We are just coming at how we view the season from different perspectives which is all good.

    In regards to snowfall being "average to average plus"... up until a week ago, this season has had higher base depths than average from December onwards at the Mansfield stake (and often significantly higher). That is an isolated datapoint for sure but that graphic shows that when the getting was good, it was really good (and significantly so). Then again, if we don't rebound, the season could potentially end just above average. But with two or three storms, season totals still can potentially end up significantly above average. Most ski areas are already above their seasonal average and March has only just started...
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417
    riverc0il said:

    The difference between epic days and horrific days is that I don't ski on horrific days. I cherry pick my ski days and rank them amongst those cherry picked days in other seasons, so it is relative and a valid way to rank the season. It is just the perspective of someone that only skis when the snow is good vs. someone that goes out and skis no matter what. We are just coming at how we view the season from different perspectives which is all good.


    In regards to snowfall being "average to average plus"... up until a week ago, this season has had higher base depths than average from December onwards at the Mansfield stake (and often significantly higher). That is an isolated datapoint for sure but that graphic shows that when the getting was good, it was really good (and significantly so). Then again, if we don't rebound, the season could potentially end just above average. But with two or three storms, season totals still can potentially end up significantly above average. Most ski areas are already above their seasonal average and March has only just started...
    Agree that we look it differently and agree that it's all good.  If you want to put up your own list, I even welcome it on this thread.

    Now me - I don't look at quantity of snow.  The melt cycles have more than neutralized any excess snow.  I notice MRG is shut down.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 214
    Definitely putting this season at least at fourth best out of the past dozen years. The season has been inconsistent and downright awful at times but when it has been good, it has been epic with several boot to knee deep days. 

    I was at MRG today for over two feet of fresh. Multiple trips into the whiteroom, ample face shots when not in the white room, just an absurd amount of snow. Might have been a top ten lifetime day if only for buried rocks, stumps, and other nasties keeping the frenzy from totally going off. Only my 13th or 14th day of the season I think (I normally have double that total by now) but I have had at least two or three days this season that I will probably remember for a very very long time, today was one of them.

    Snowed all day, snowing when I left, more overnight, more this weekend. With an great spring (hopefully), the season could certainly rank higher but if the season ended this week, I'd still put it fourth out of the past dozen seasons.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,417
    riverc0il said:

    Definitely putting this season at least at fourth best out of the past dozen years. The season has been inconsistent and downright awful at times but when it has been good, it has been epic with several boot to knee deep days. 


    ...

    Snowed all day, snowing when I left, more overnight, more this weekend. With an great spring (hopefully), the season could certainly rank higher but if the season ended this week, I'd still put it fourth out of the past dozen seasons.
    Again, our different POVs comes raging to the surface!  IMO,  a few great days doesn't offset the rest of what has been a very mediocre season.  I still have it placed 7th, but an upward move to sixth is possible if things continue well thru the remainder of March.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing advanced
    Posts: 477
    Riv- My daughter concurs...at least about the day at MRG. All smiles tonight after she spent the day tearing things up there with her buddies....gotta love a snow day!

    Still, IMO the season has been lame as a whole. 4 is a bit high, but today and the next week will improve things for sure.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    edited March 16 Posts: 900


    IMO,  a few great days doesn't offset the rest of what has been a very mediocre season.




    +1 except "mediocre" is way too kind. Lotsoskiing's "lame" is closer. 70 degrees in mid February, then March begins with rain, follows it up with temps in the zeroes. Mad River Glen was CLOSED for a time in January, for goodness sakes. And again they were CLOSED until yesterday!  Other end of the style spectrum, Stratton went from 92 trails one day to 47 the next.  Cover has been so bad, DOZENS of resorts fired up the guns last weekend -- when does that happen?   Most of the industry has the snow guns locked away by now. 

     None of this factors in to a top season, I don't care how much snow falls in mid March. I don't care if today was the best day in the history of New England skiing!!! How quickly we forget!  It's like Charlie Brown, keeps forgiving Lucy and he tries to kick the football.  Not a good season.

    Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm used to this. But comparatively it's a bottom dweller overall.  
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,386
    It can't be a good year if I have more days than Riverc0il. But he he has more pow days for sure.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
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