Will the Snow Show Up?
What does an average winter snowfall look like in the Mt. Washington Valley? It can vary quite considerably. Higher elevations on Mount Washington often have snow during October that adds beautiful contrast to fall foliage. Skiable snow comes with snowmaking supplemented by natural snow in mid to late November. It generally happens first at Wildcat or Bretton Woods, which have high base elevations of about 2,000 feet. Cranmore Mountain has the lowest base elevation of about 500 feet, so skiable snow there generally happens in late November to early December.
Snowfall throughout the Valley increases significantly after November, with the 44-year December average being 18.2 inches. The maximum December snowfall was 40.8 inches in 2007 and the minimum was 2.8 inches in 1992. This generally means that all ski areas are in full operation by the Christmas holidays and snowfall and ground snowpack continue to increase until mid-March, when spring melt typically begins.
While the annual average snowfall has declined from over 100 inches in the early weather records in the Mt. Washington Valley (MWV) to 85.3 inches now, natural snow supplemented by improved snowmaking should continue to provide dependable skiing, which, as we know, is very important to the MWV economy.
Ed Bergeron is a local weather observer, trustee, and previous executive director of the Mount Washington Observatory. He hosts the Morning Weather Show each day at 7:45 AM on 93.5 WMWV FM.
Catch this article in the Winter 2019/20 printed edition of Mt Washington Valley Vibe available at any of these locations around the region.