Vermont Ski Resorts Eager for Weather Turnaround - NECN

Vermont Ski Resorts Eager for Weather Turnaround



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    (NECN: Jack Thurston, Jay, Vt.) - Winter in Vermont hasn't looked much like winter in Vermont, from no snow on the fields to not enough in the mountains.

    "It sucks!" one skier at Jay Peak Resort bemoaned, wishing for fresh powder for the mountain.

    Ski resorts are getting impatient.

    "It has certainly been tricky," said Jen Butson of Ski Vermont.

    Ski Vermont represent the state's 19 downhill and 30 cross-country resorts. The trade group says numbers vary greatly from resort to resort, but overall, the season is off to a slightly disappointing start because of warm weather and no big natural snowfalls.

    "People who actually work in snow-making and operations really have seen this before," Butson promised. "And they know how to work with the elements to snow-make to the best of their capacity."

    Rain and ice were resorts' biggest enemies late this week. High wind and icing even forced Vermont's largest resort, Killington, to close Friday. It promised to reopen Saturday, after a long night of grooming the trails.

    "This would be the most challenging start ever," said Bill Stenger, the president of Jay Peak Resort.

    But Jay has a new insurance policy of sorts. The Pump House is the resort's $20-million, 60,000 square foot water park. It has surf pools and looping slides that end in big splashes to give patrons something to do when the ski conditions aren't optimal.

    "Yeah, there's no snow," Pump House patron Brad Johnson sighed. "[There are] only a couple trails open, so we decided to come in here for the day."

    Jay's president said the Pump House has been a life vest for its season.

    "We're a little behind but we're not very far behind and I know in February, March, and April, we'll catch up and surpass last year."

    Forecasts show a much more typical winter weather pattern on tap for February. With ski areas' critical school vacation weeks and a long President's Day weekend coming up, there's just one thing skiers and boarders want: "More snow!" a skier at Jay shouted as he boarded a lift.

    Ski Vermont points out there are still about 100 days left in the ski season; plenty of time for a full turnaround.

    "Our average skier visits for the past few years has been 4.3-million skier visits," Jen Butson explained. "If we see a strong February, March, and even into April, we will be able to recuperate."