Skiers and riders in Vermont are hoping for a turnaround in the weather, after resorts were hit hard this week by a combination of mild temperatures and rain — which take a serious toll on snow.
"I’d prefer more powder, but you get what you get," said skier Jeff Bordeau, who took just a few runs at Sugarbush Resort early Wednesday.
"It’s a little icy, but you know, it’s fun," added skier Sam Grant. "[It’s] better than being at work!"
Die-hards at Sugarbush were still having a great time Wednesday, even with limited trail counts.
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"Conditions are still really wet," observed skier Lorenzo Atocha. "But we’re making the best of what we’ve got and very thankful that Sugarbush is even open at this time, definitely."
Sugarbush said it is eager for cold temperatures to return, telling NECN & NBC10 its snowmaking team is poised to work long hours to build back what was lost and to expand coverage.
"It’s going to get better," promised resort spokesman John Bleh. "The nice thing about this new technology, the snowmaking technology that we’ve been investing in over the past decade, is you can make a lot more with smaller windows, more efficiently. So that’s how you adapt."
These kinds of challenging conditions for resorts could become more common because of climate change.
U.S. government data shows since 1970, the average winter temperature in Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, has warmed a hair over 7 degrees. That is a sharper jump than anyplace else studied by the independent researchers at the group Climate Central.
Vermont resorts have not only invested heavily in snowmaking infrastructure, but also in energy efficiency and upgrades aimed at cutting emissions in recent years.
In the near-term, skiers and riders are trying to remind themselves it’s still really early in the season, with plenty of time left for better conditions to come.
“Hopes for the New Year,” beamed Grant, as she placed her ski gear into her vehicle after finishing her day at the mountain.
For more information on skiing and riding in Vermont, visit the website of the statewide trade group Ski Vermont. The Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing also provides info on planning a winter getaway to Vermont.