Early in the winter, there are conditions that can create huge amounts of snow in the Green Mountains of Vermont. If the fall is warm (which it was this year) and then the temperatures drop suddenly, cold air moving across the Great Lakes can pick up lots of moisture, which saturates the cold air. When that cold air starts blowing east and it hits the Green Mountains, it gets forced uphill and the air cools even more. At that point, it can't hold all of its moisture any more, and the moisture from the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario is our benefactor of the moment) becomes snow in the Green Mountains.
Right now, conditions are perfect for this type of snow and the mountains are getting pounded by snow. To the best of my knowledge, Sugarbush became the first resort in the east to open natural (no snowmaking) trails earlier this week. And, the snow just keeps on coming.
I drove home through whiteout conditions last night, courtesy of the lake effect snow. It's snowing now and I'm hoping to go skiing this afternoon. It's also windy, so the lifts might get shut down before I can get to the mountain, but if the lifts stay open, I'll be skiing this afternoon.
By the time the lake effect snows taper off tomorrow, the NWS has projected 40"-50" of new snow in the mountains this week. And then on Sunday afternoon, a storm is going to move in with some more snow.
So, in one week, we've gone from no natural snow at all to full-on winter. I can't wait to make those first turns of the ski season.