Moose Gallop Onto Vt. Ski Trails

(NECN: Jack Thurston, Warren, Vt.) - Some of the skiers and boarders at Vermont's Sugarbush Resort are getting a little something extra with their runs this season. "No moose sightings," lamented Jeremy Raymond of Burlington, Vt. "Not today, at least!"

In and around the woods by the Warren, Vt. resort's trails, guests have reported seeing at least four different moose in the past few weeks. One of them has even chased skiers. A male moose with large antlers gave several people a scare in late December when he lunged toward a few resort guests.

James Rohman of Larchmont, N.Y. told New England Cable News he was there when the bull moose charged at a skier. "It was kind of frightening," he said, describing the scene. "Everyone who was smart was running away or skiing away."

No one was hurt in the incident. Sugarbush responded by shutting a trail briefly and pausing a lift until the big animal lumbered into the woods. "I only had one email from a woman who was scheduled to come here in a few weeks and she wondered if it was still safe to come," said Win Smith, the president of Sugarbush. "And I wrote back and assured her that it was. But the general reaction is, 'Wow! Where do we see the moose? How do I see the moose?'"

One of the theories as to why the moose are coming closer to where the skiers are is because there has been so much snow at Sugarbush this winter that it's easier for the moose to get around on groomed trails than it is for them to trudge through the woods. "If I was the moose, I'd probably walk on groomed snow," Smith chuckled.

This is not unique to Sugarbush. The Stowe Mountain Resort reported several sightings of moose on its trails last season. "Remember that we're recreating where they live," said Patrick Berry, the commissioner of the Vt. Fish and Wildlife Dept. "We're in their habitat as well."

Berry told NECN that Vermont is home to about 3,000 moose. Most of them are far from the major human population centers, he said, in places like the state's Northeast Kingdom, near Canada. "You want to get away from it, give it plenty of space," Berry said, advising what people should do if they encounter a moose close-up. "I wouldn't consider it alarming at all. It's just trying to go from point A to point B, somewhere out on the mountain, somewhere in the woods."

Skiers and boarders like James Rohman and his sister, Abigail, will follow that guidance as they keep their eyes out for potential close encounters of the wild kind. "I don't want to see the moose," Abigail Rohman said, smiling. "I don't want to get bulldozed by moose!"

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