A doozy of a snowstorm last week led to a unique early-season ski and ride landscape resembling mid-winter.
Southern Vermont received the lion’s share of Mother Nature’s offering, while ski areas farther north settled for what they could get. The storm arrived just before a lot opening days, with some places grooming 100% of their trails right off the bat.
Skiers and snowboarders can still find stashes of untouched powder in all 14 counties of the state, but the prime early-season conditions may not last for long. Seizing the day could be a necessity as temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s by Christmas before dipping down again next week.
Nordic centers in Rutland, Windsor, Bennington and Windham Counties reported some of their biggest one-day accumulations in years. Most of those areas participate in a reciprocal program where season pass-holders can ski or snowshoe for free at any of the other participating areas. Winter sports enthusiasts can take advantage of one single-day pass at each of the 20 destinations.
Here is a statewide glance at conditions heading into the holidays:
Brattleboro Outing Club
A 24-inch gift from the storm led to 10 open trails and 33 kilometers of skiing. Forest, Unity and all the fairway trails were groomed for classic skiing.
Twelve of the 23 open trails were freshly groomed Wednesday. The Sun Mountain Express, Alpine Chair, East Meadow Chair and Star Carpet lifts were spinning and the base depth remained solid at 12-36 inches. The Run Around 1, Run Around 2 and Shincracker trails along with a portion of Upper Thruway were recently added to the mix.
Eighteen inches from the storm set the stage for 11 kilometers of skiing along 16 trails.
No one can argue with 62 trails, nine lifts and a base depth of 24 inches this time of year. Wind and rain Thursday and Friday could throw a wrench in some plans, but last week’s accumulation of 25 inches should keep most things intact. The Bear Mountain base area is scheduled to open Saturday along with new Bear Mountain trails serviced by the Bear Mountain and Skye Peak Quads and Skyeship Express Gondola Stage 2.
Fingers are crossed as 64 trails remain open heading into a stretch of unpredictable weather. Eight lifts, a base depth of 18 inches and 26 freshly groomed trails are a quality combination entering the weekend, but strong gusts of wind Thursday could cause problems. Skiers and riders can check the lift status at @MountSnowOpson on Twitter for updates about potential wind holds.
A 45-inch dump last week allowed Okemo to join the century club with 102 open trails. The mountain has 11 lifts and a base depth of 24 inches. Two shifts of groomers joined forces Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, while snowmakers worked on Sidewinder, Moonshadow and Wardance. The snow guns are expected to fire up again this weekend
All 12 trails were ready during Wednesday’s opening day, marking a rare feat. Thirty inches of snow fell last week in Quechee, where three lifts are spinning and the snow depth is 8-24 inches. There are thin areas on some natural-snow trails, including Cleanbreak, Deweys, Quechee Expresss, Mels and The Plateau.
The center was blanketed with 14 inches of white stuff from the storm. There are 14 trails and 25 kilometers of skiing, with a snow depth of 8-10 inches.
Two feet of snow during last week’s storm left everyone in a winter wonderland at Stratton. There are currently 61 trails and eight lifts, with a base depth of 21 inches. Wind gusts up to 70 mph could cause lift delays Thursdays. Rain showers are also in the forecast, though the precipitation could shift to snow Friday.
Chair 1 and the J-bar were spinning Wednesday for Day 1 of the ski area’s 85th season. Twenty-six inches of light powder last week set the stage for eight open trails and a base depth of 5-30 inches. Snow guns have been roaring on Face, Lower Skyline, Easy Mile and Pearson’s Path.
Twenty-one of 29 trails are expected to be groomed Thursday, with eight lifts and a base depth of 12-48 inches. Lincoln Peak snowmaking teams are busy on Domino Chute, Lower Jester, Lower Organgrinder and Lower Ripcord. The Mount Ellen snowmaking efforts involve work on Lower Rim Run, Lower Elbow and Northridge Expressway
There are 15 trails that cover 17 kilometers in Londonderry, with a base depth of 3-8 inches.
The Peru touring center was closed Wednesday and will wait for colder temperatures to return. Earlier in the week all 10 trails covering 23 kilometers were open.
A 26-inch boost last Thursday allowed Woodstock to open 34 trails for a total of 38 kilometers of skiing.