The return of typical winter weather following a January thaw was met with cheers from Vermont’s outdoor recreation sector, which counts on cold temperatures to boost activities during the critical Martin Luther King Junior holiday weekend.
“We should be in pretty good shape for the weekend,” said John Bleh of Sugarbush Resort, describing the ski conditions.
After two days of near-record temperatures that reached into the 50s many lower-lying communities were left robbed of snow and looking green again.
At its higher elevation, though, Sugarbush was able to maintain more snow coverage. Plus, it cranked up its snow-guns as soon as colder temperatures allowed, to improve trail conditions after that warm-up.
“When it gets really warm overnight, we try not to groom, or we try to keep our grooming to a minimum, to preserve the snow for when it gets cold again,” Bleh explained. “It’s amazing what groomers and snow guns can do.”
A group of skiers from the North Andover High School ski team in Massachusetts was at Sugarbush Friday, using a day off from school to extend the holiday weekend.
Those skiers were enthused to see a few light snow showers.
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“It’s awesome,” skier Emma Callamaro said of the sight of a brief snow flurry Friday.
"Some of the runs are a little icy, but nothing too bad,” observed Samantha Pasovschi, another North Andover skier.
“We’re looking for some powder,” added Molly Dalton, another student on the ski team trip, describing a desire for more natural snow.
The new public skating rink on the lawn of the Vermont Statehouse also benefitted from a return to chilly temperatures following the January thaw.
The rink announced a temporary shutdown during the mild temperatures, after the surface became puddles and slush. But when the cold returned, it appeared to make for some pretty good skating.
“It’s really great to have it cold again,” said Jonathan Goddard, who was out skating on his lunch break Friday. “It’s nice to be able to get out when it’s warm, but if you like to skate or be out in the snow or ice, the warm weather makes it more difficult to do that.”