The calendar says fall, but it’s already starting to look like winter in the high peaks of Vermont.
Many communities at higher elevations reported 1-3 inches of snow this weekend, with some spots, like the ski area Bolton Valley, recording nine inches or more.
Users of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media posted photos and video of Vermont’s colorful autumn foliage coated with snow, using the term “snowliage” to describe the combination of landscapes.
“Frosty, you seem lost– it’s not even Halloween,” Maria Fischer of Waterbury wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of her son making a snowman in front of a tree with yellow leaves still holding on. “It’s snowing – I’m not ready yet.”
Killington Resort is certainly ready, said spokesman Michael Joseph.
“Last winter was definitely a lackluster natural snowfall winter,” Joseph recalled.
Joseph said Killington tallied more than five inches of natural snow the past few days, making it similar to some of the larger storms the mountain saw last winter.
Combined with the work of groomers and an ever-expanding snow-making network, the chilly blast means the destination is launching an early start to the skiing and riding season.
Killington announced it is opening on limited terrain Tuesday morning, exclusively for season’s pass and express card holders, with the general public having to wait until Wednesday morning to get in their first turns of the 2016-2017 season.
The drought had the resort’s snowmaking reservoirs running very low, Joseph said, but recent rain was a big boost.
“We were very excited about that rain that came down and kind of restocked those ponds,” Joseph told necn. “Of course, having it turn into snow helped, and now we’ve got the combination of cold temperatures and full ponds, and that’s helping snowmakers do their jobs.”
Necn meteorologist Michael Page said after such a dry summer, a winter with above-average snowfall could help turn around the long-term water deficit in places like Lake Champlain.
“This now puts us ahead of what we’d expect in a typical October,” Page said of this weekend’s natural snowfall totals in the mountains of Vermont. “So if we can build up that snowpack this year, and have some of that water stored at the top of the mountain, it would actually do a lot of favors for us next spring, once things start to melt.”
Despite this weekend’s “snowliage” preview of things to come, winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21.