My chat with Ridin’ Rich Lupia about his web site: Upstatesnow.com

Rich Lupia @ Upstatesnow.com

Rich Lupia @ Upstatesnow.com

One of the coolest things about running ilsnow.com is meeting fellow snowmobilers. Many times, I’ll have a friendly chat with someone on the trail for a few minutes and then move on. Sometimes, I get to lend a helping hand. I’ve even made some lifetime friends.

This year I had the pleasure of meeting Rich Lupia who has started a brand new web site for snowmobiliers at Upstatesnow.com. Some of you might remember Rich as a TV meteorologist at WKTV NewsChannel 2 from Utica, NY. Both Rich and I hold degrees in Atmospheric Science from SUNY Albany, learning from some of the giants in the field. Rich is a few years younger than I am, so our paths hardly crossed in college.

Upstatesnow.com’s primary coverage area is Central New York and the Tug Hill, but Rich will be commenting on weather and snow conditions for the entire upstate of New York. I am thrilled to partner with Upstatesnow.com to advocate our great sport of snowmobiling to the general public. Snowmobiling gets too much negative publicity from a few bad apples. It’s time we change that perception by showing that snowmobiling is a fun and safe sport enjoyed by people from diverse walks of life.

Rich is busy getting Upstatesnow.com ready for its maiden winter, but he is happy to embark on a Q&A with ilsnow.com:

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: Every snowmobilier has his story about how he got into the sport. Tell us your story.

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: You would think growing up in Upstate NY it would be something from childhood, but it isn’t. I was born and raised in Utica, NY and lived in a bungalow in a middle class neighborhood on the southeast side. The only power equipment I was familiar with was a push lawnmower! It took two people to get me into the sport over 3 years and after college. I was 23 when my friend at the time Darryl, invited me up to his place in January 1999 to ride an old Yellow Ski Doo from the 1970’s over his 40 acres of land. I froze but I loved it! It just so happened his land was on the CNY Snow Travelers trails and I saw the connections to trails going everywhere. That winter ended way early that year and I never knew anyone else to go with so I didn’t know where to start or how to get involved.

Fast forward to January 2002 and my good friend and client Andy Mower from Performance Premixes. He rode for a long time and took a whole day to get us comfortable with the sleds and my wife and I rode 60 miles through the Deerfield and Penn Mountain system. It was AN AWESOME DAY! But winter ended early that year too! The next winter we bought a house in Barneveld that was on the Penn Mountain trail system. My wife was pregnant with our son that winter, the robust winter of 2002-03 and it KILLED ME watching the sleds go by constantly… but try buying a sled after just buying a house with a pregnant wife. Not gonna happen! Finally in late 2003, I was in and hooked. I bought my first sled (incidentally from Andy Mower), joined Penn Mountain and learned as much as I could with Andy and his friends. Hooked for life from that point forward and forever an advocate for the sport.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: What snowmobile will you be riding this year?

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: You don’t wanna know! I sold my first sled when we moved out west in 2005 (wish we didn’t but…) Moving back to NY in 2008 with no money, I rented or rode with friends for a few years. I now have a 1992 Ski Doo 447 Safari.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: How many miles do you have the Safari?

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: 6100 original miles on it. Came from my old friend and weather watcher from my TV days.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: What are your favorite riding areas?

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: The trails here in Northern Oneida and Central Herkimer County are AWESOME! I love all the clubs locally and think they all do a great job! I belong to Deerfield, since that is where I live, but I love Penn Mountain, Ohio, Salisbury, Lost Trails, Trackside and Rome’s trails. Great mix of open areas with trails and seasonal roads. Never a boring ride.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: I can vouch for the great riding in your area. A friend of mine took me riding down there several years ago and I got hooked!

Next Question: What inspired you to start Upstatesnow.com?

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: I featured snowmobiling heavily in my TV weathercasts while on WKTV. I know that finding good reliable weather information, trail information and especially, insight as to how the weather in the forecast could help or hurt trail conditions.. is hard. You’ve done it so well with the Adirondacks through the years I’ve followed you. I asked myself why isn’t anyone doing it for other areas of the state including where I live… So yes Darrin, even before I met you personally in September, you were part of it! Be unique, be a resource people can rely on and depend on for honest information and analysis… and hit areas that would love to have some attention besides the normally covered areas.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: Highly accurate weather forecasts that I provide as a meteorologist on ilsnow.com set it apart from other snowmobile trail reporting sites. Your skill as a meteorologist will be a huge draw for Upstatesnow.com. With your background in TV media, you may be able to do things with Upstatesnow.com that I haven’t done on ilsnow.com. Please talk about some of the neat things you’ll be doing on Upstatesnow.com this winter.

Rich @ Upstatesnow.com: The biggest thing is the video. You know this very well with our “Snowmobile Report” venture we are trying to market to a broad audience. I plan to make video a large part of the site. Second is covering and promoting major events. Finally, being that resource for newer riders. So many sites focus on those who know the sport and know what they are doing. There are many people, like I was years ago, who took too long to break into snowmobiling and it should not have been so. Just like with weather and events, information is key. Promote safety, give information and tips to help people who don’t know the sport as well.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com: I think Upstatesnow.com will be a GREAT resource for the avid snowmobiler and the person who is curious about getting into the sport. Thanks for taking time to introduce yourself to the ilsnow nation. I’m looking forward to working with you this winter and many more to come.

Here is a demo of “The Snowmobile Report” that Rich and I are working on. I can tell you this was a lot of fun and I think I did OK for a first timer: 🙂

Be sure to check out Upstatesnow.com this winter.

When will winter stand up and be counted? Update 12/3/12

Winter poked his head around here last week, but that seems like a distant memory now.

What’s going on?

This forecast panel for December 4th shows the problem that I have been talking about for the past week or so:

GGEM Ensemble 24 hours

The powerful Bering Sea Omega Ridge and Gulf of Alaska Vortex couplet remains cemented in place. When strong storms continually crash into the Gulf of Alaska region, it becomes virtually impossible for Arctic cold to penetrate deeply into the eastern United States. This is also consistent with the negative phase of the Pacific/North American Oscillation (PNA-) that we have had for months. Remember that a PNA- pattern favors milder weather over the eastern United States:

Pacific North America Oscillation

So, Winter is stuck up north right now!
Is this going to change anytime soon?

I believe that tangible changes will begin to occur by mid-December with the breakdown of the Bering Sea Omega Ridge/Gulf of Alaska Vortex Legion of Doom:

GGEM Ensembles 384 hours

Within 2 weeks, the evil Pacific regime should collapse and be replaced by slight ridging in the Gulf of Alaska! This will allow a piece of the Canadian Polar Vortex to slip southward toward Hudson’s Bay by default. That by itself should fire up lake effect snows by mid-December. Before we get lost in the excitement, this is NOT a hard-core winter set-up yet, due to the lack of amplified western United States ridging (PNA+) or a strong Greenland block.

What does this mean for the second half of December and into January?

With the NAO-/AO- pattern expected for the next couple of weeks and the collapse of the Gulf of Alaska Vortex. It will become colder with more opportunities for snow:

 North Atlantic/Arctic Oscillations

As long as the Northern Hemisphere retains a AO-/NAO- configuration much of the time for the next couple of months, good things SHOULD happen for us as the winter cold continues to build. The prevailing PNA- pattern will leave us vulnerable to warm-ups, but I think we’ll get a far better share of snow than we did last winter.

Remember, this is only the first week of December. If it’s still looking bleak by the New Year, then we’ve got some real problems.

Video footage of Ohio Tavern Flat Drags 12/2/12

Darrin Jr and I took a jaunt down to the Ohio Tavern today to watch the SHCRA Snowmobile Flat Drags. Despite the scant snow cover and rain, there was a pretty good turnout. I must say that it did hurt to see those snowmobiles churning up rooster tails of dirt and stone. After an hour and a half in the rain, we had nice warm lunch at the Tavern then headed for home. In Speculator, we stopped at Village Motorsports and met the DRAG of Speculator crew getting their equipment locked and loaded for winter. It was nice talking to Bob Carr, Rick Swift, Big Mike and Paul Allen.

All in all, we had a great day. The racing sounds and smells have me really itching for winter. 🙂

Check out some video that I shot. Adjust the resolution to “HD” for best results:

The Ohio Tavern expects to host Flat Drags again in mid-February with exact date to be determined. I expect much better track conditions by then.