Following a brief warm-up and rain earlier this month that impacted the trails at ski resorts, Friday’s chilly opening day at Sugarbush’s Mount Ellen brought cheers from skiers and riders.
“Winter’s back,” beamed skier Kayla Riker. “Winter seems to be back!”
The snow guns were going full-blast at the Fayston, Vermont ski area. The return of cold, along with natural snow, are really helping destinations improve conditions, a resort spokesman said.
“Just based on getting some snow squalls—four inches here, three inches there—and then the temps dropping back down and the snow guns being able to get turned back really makes a huge difference,” John Bleh of Sugarbush Resort told NECN.
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Because the skiing and riding industry regularly sees weather swings presenting challenges, Vermont resorts have invested heavily in snowmaking infrastructure over the past several years.
Vermont’s resorts tallied nearly 4.2-million skier and rider visits in the 2018-2019 season, according to the trade group Ski Vermont.
Bleh noted that weather right for snowmaking and grooming returned just in time for the all-important Christmas through New Year’s stretch, which is one of the busiest periods for resorts.
“Especially before Christmas, this is what we need,” skier Cameron Furey said.
“I was actually born on Christmas, and I couldn’t imagine a day I wasn’t skiing on Christmas, so this is the best present for me,” skier Lou Kaminski said of temperatures conducive to snowmaking.
Her gifts should keep coming, with mountain temperatures looking pleasant through the holidays, according to NECN meteorologist Michael Page.