Eight of Vermont's ski resorts were expect to open this week or weekend, according to the industry group Ski Vermont. Among those was the Stowe Mountain Resort, which kicked off its 2015-2016 skiing and riding season Wednesday.
"It's great," beamed snowboarder Kate Maciejowski from Burlington, who said Stowe is one of her favorite mountains to ride. "Glad to be back - found a lot of friends, for sure!"
Vermont destinations are looking to build on a record-breaking 2014-2015 season, which Ski Vermont said saw nearly 4.7-million skier and rider visits statewide.
"I've been waiting for this since the end of last season," said Reggie Bannerman of Essex Junction, a Stowe season pass holder who came the morning of opening day.
Vermont resorts are unveiling a host of additions, including a new quad lift at Sugarbush, protected bubble chairs at Okemo, a base lodge at Stratton, extra snow guns at Killington, and much more across this industry that's so critical to a travel-dependent state.
Despite the celebratory mood Wednesday at Stowe, several skiers and riders remarked that Mother Nature hasn't been particularly kind to any Vermont resorts so far this season. There have been a lot of warm or mild days, and very little natural snow, meaning there's still a lot of terrain that's grassy.
So Stowe and other resorts are hoping for a cool-down, so they can really crank up their snowmaking operations.
"I'm hoping we get a storm here pretty soon," Bannerman said.
With this week’s flurry of resort openings, snow-lovers looking for several months of fun now have one more thing to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
"I actually got banned from going snowboarding on Thanksgiving from my family when I showed up late and missed dinner one year," recalled Chuck Bruch of Burlington, who was enjoying Stowe's opening day. "So I try to get it in as much around Thanksgiving as I can!"
Ski Vermont's website provides information on visiting Vermont for snowboarding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing.