Powder Day at Crested Butte

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Powder Day at Bromley Mountain- January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2016 provided an opportunity to get out and enjoy the snow.

The ride up Rt 7 North of Bennington Vermont was a little dicey

The ride up Rt 7 North of Bennington Vermont was a little dicey.

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Riding the shuttle I was unsure of what the conditions would be.

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First chair up indicated that it was going to be a good day.

The snow dump over night was perfect

The snow dump over night was perfect.

Skiers and riders were out enjoying the POW

Skiers and riders were out enjoying the POW.

Kids took advantage of the Holiday to enjoy the snow

Kids took advantage of the Holiday to enjoy the snow.

The sun was in and out but the snow was GREAT!!!

The sun was in and out but the snow was GREAT!!!

Powder stashes were still available into the late morning

Powder stashes were still available into the late morning. Crowds were light.

It was a little windy and visibility was a little tight at time but the skiers and riders made due.

It was a little windy and visibility was a little tight at times but the skiers and riders made due.

No place is better than South facing Bromley Mountain when the sun comes out.

No place is better than South facing Bromley Mountain when the sun comes out.

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A Little Bit of Snowbiking at Pats Peak

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Kiss a Snow Maker

Guns going at Killington in Vermont

Guns going at Killington in Vermont

What a difference one week can make with the right temperatures and optimum equipment.

We don’t just have snowmakers, we have snow heroes. Let’s than them for what they have been able to do since the beginning of this season was pretty much a bust!

Guess what?

Today, January 8th, Most of the areas are about 20 to 25% open , but if you want to ski you only need to have one trail at a time.

Gore is reporting  18 trails and 8 lifts mostly at the Northwoods Area, I will be there tomorrow and give you a report of conditions when I return tomorrow night. I have spoken with a couple other skiers who went to Gore on Wednesday who reported back to me that the skiing was remarkably good taking everything is consideration, plus it was above freeing which made it even more comfy.

Whiteface is reporting 34 trails and seven lifts

Windham has with 25 trails, 129 acres, 5 lifts and they are saying outrageously great conditions! Last weekend they had 5 trails, 38 acres and variable conditions. That’s a big jump the snowmakers have made.

Mount Snow has 20 trails with 10 lifts going

The picture above is from early season at Killington  where currently they have 44 trails and nine lifts

The same goes for most of the other ski areas in Vermont and New Hampshire.  I will give you a report on New Hampshire next Wednesday when I return from there.

Don’t even think about staying home this weekend. There is some good skiing out there even though it is basically man-made but we all have to take the good with the bad. And if you are a skier the bad is pretty darn good.

Do you have friends who want to learn to ski? January is learning to ski month and many of the ski areas are hosting special for beginning skier. Check them out at your ski area of choice

There are many ski and stay packages at all the ski areas when you basically can stay and ski for the price of the room or the price of a lift ticket, depending on which way you want to look at it. We have been suffering long enough, get out there and enjoy what we have to work with, if you are waiting for a significant snowfall you may have to wait a long time ( let’s hope not!)

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Vacation End Eases Crowds

Sometimes the last day of a holiday week can be the best day for others.

Such was the case for this Christmas/New Year’s season at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont.

This season has been tough.  No one disputes that. But people still want to get out on the slopes.

I was able to make two trips to Stratton during the Christmas/New Years break.  The first was on December 30th, a Wednesday, and again on January 3rd, a Sunday.

Wednesday was very active with masses of season pass holders coming out after Storm Goliath rolled through.  Goliath had subsided significantly by the time it hit central Vermont and only left with a few inches of natural snow.

Seething with the pent up demand pass holders headed out in droves to get some of what they have been yearning for.  Conditions were good where there was snow but the lack natural snow and warm and humid weather had limited snowmaking.  This resulted in only a few lifts being operated.  The gondola was not running.  I think it had to do with the layer of ice on the towers and cables from some freezing rain that Goliath left.  Wise move, safety first!

The result was long lift lines.  Everyone seemed to be taking it in stride though.  They seemed glad to be out and on their boards and skis.

Fast forward to four days to Sunday.

Those who had booked the week had appeared to had left town, or were packing to leave.  Driving up Route 30 I saw several vehicles loaded up with skis, boards and boxes on their roofs.

The Mountain seemed like a different place than it was a few days earlier.. The lodge was less crowded with ample seating and room to change.

The crowds were gone and so were the lift lines.  The gondola was open and was essentially a walk on. While ski school participants were lined up for the American Express Lift the line moved quickly.

The URSA Exress on different days
Two views of the Ursa Express. On the left December 30th. On the right January 3rd.

The Ursa Express, which had a 30-minute line on Wednesday, was down to three minutes.  By noon there was no line and the lifties went about their chores without ensuring that every single chair had six people.

Snow conditions were better too.  A few more days of cold weather allowed for more snowmaking that continued on the upper mountain.  Although some up the upper expert trails like Tamarack and Polar Bear got a little scraped off by 1:00, good snow was found on Upper and Lower East Meadow and Lower Wanderer up until 3:00.

You should know that Stratton Mountain is the home of the Great Snow Guarantee: “On any day, ski or ride for one hour from the start of your day (time at which you bought your lift ticket – ticket is time stamped); if you are not satisfied with the snow conditions bring your ticket to guest services and receive a voucher for the same type of ticket good until the end of the current season.”

So if you can start your vacation, or take a day trip on the last day of the a school vacation, Stratton, or any other mountain will be a different place.

For more information visit http://www.stratton.com

 

Some video from Stratton Mountain from Janary 3rd.
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Winter is here!

Early Skiing Photo By Peter Hines

Early Skiing Photo By Peter Hines

It definitely feels like winter this morning… it snowed. There is some Light snow on Wednesday morning, but it is snowing. Ski areas in NY and Vermont received about 4” to 6” of snow during Monday night and Tuesday morning from Goliath. Combine that with the efforts of the snow makers who made snow until the temperature went above freezing.

 

Most ski areas have gotten some great and expanded coverage across the mountain.

Today’s forecast is calling for cloudy skies throughout the day. Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 34 there could be some wind.

At Mount Snow they will be skiing and riding on 83 acres across ten trails including Canyon, Cascade, Cooper’s Junction, Deer Run, Lower Exhibition, Launch Pad, Little John, Long John, Somerset Road, and The Gulch. With the exception of Somerset Road, our grooming team hit every open trail in order to smooth everything out and give you the best possible snow surface. Our Park Crew worked hard last night in order to give The Gulch a fresh rebuild. It now has an impressive 22 features for you to hit. Come see why Carinthia Parks are consistently rated #1 in the East.

The Bluebird Express, Canyon Express, Tumbleweed, Seasons, Apollo, Gemini, Discovery Shuttle, and Heavy Metal are scheduled to spin from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. today. Lifts are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends/holidays and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

At Okemo Mountain Resort they received 3 – 5 inches of natural snow on top of several days of snow making,

They will be skiing and riding on 27 trails with 12 lifts turning at 8 a.m. having added Nor’easter, Sweet Solitude and Village Run to our list of open trails.

Please note: There may have some lift delays today due to icing, so check back here for the latest updates.

Since we are still early season and still some thin cover, be aware that some bare/thin spots, rocks, decreased trail width in some areas, water bars, snowmaking equipment, etc… so stay safe and ski or ride with caution.

New Year’s Eve is just a day away, so make your plans to celebrate at a ski area! Many areas have Torchlight Parade & Fireworks shows and other specials going on You can celebrate the New Year in Mount Snow at the Grand Summit Hotel’s NYE Dinner & Dance Party or with the sounds of Sugarfoot & the Brass Kickin’ Horns at the Snow Barn.

At Okemo, you can celebrate a family new year with an early start at the Roundhouse in Jackson Gore Village.  Midnight arrives early for friends and family enjoying a whole host of activities. Magic show, wagon rides, party hat decorating, bingo games and trivia. Families can ring in the New Year early with a DJ dance party and still get the kids to bed in time for a full day on the slopes the next day. Calvin will be making an appearance and leading the kids in some fun party games. Balloons, noisemakers, photo both, Dux the balloon man, and fireworks add to the New Year celebration, complete with a kid’s dinner party including pizza, mac and cheese and a few other chief selections in the Roundhouse at Jackson Gore. Activities begin at 5pm. Pizza & Dance Party begin at 6:30pm. Festivities conclude at 9pm with an incredible fireworks display.

Check out your favorite ski area’s Events Calendar for full details. With fresh snow and plenty of fun activities going on here, you’ll want to check out our ski and stay packages.

See you on the mountain,

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2015 Season Off to a Rough Start in the East

Several Pineapple Expresses have been rolling into the Western United States dumping the snow that was missing last year.  Resorts from Washington State to Colorado got out early and the base is piling up.

As of the first week in December there was over six feet of snow in Steven’s Pass in Washington.  The quick dumping and temperature changes have led to dangerous avalanche conditions according to the North West Avalanche Center. The danger has been exacerbated by wind slabs and storm slabs.

Meanwhile back east, not so much.

Guns going at Killington in Vermont

Guns going at Killington in Vermont

Killington Mountain Resort in Vermont was the first resort out of the gun opening on October 18th with Sunday River opening the next day. Since then it has been difficult for reports to add to the base and skiable acreage.

According to Sarah Wojcik from Ski Vermont eleven resorts in Vermont have been open this December, including two Nordic resorts.  “While the weather has not been cooperative in terms of natural snow, resorts were able to make snow in November and early December to open about 1000 acres of terrain in Vermont” said Wojcik.  “Vermont areas have been able to maintain their acreage. When temperatures return to normal areas are ready get back the base as the Vermont resorts have about 80% snowmaking coverage” said Wojcik.

Resorts in the east have struggled with a bi-polar mother nature.  The weather has been strange according to Aaron Kellet the manager of Whiteface Mountain in New York’s Adirondacks.  “It’s cold, then warm, but it’s the humidity that is inhibiting the snowmaking.  We have had some humidity levels over 90 percent and we just can’t keep at it.”  Another challenge has been temperature inversions.  “It has been warmer at the top at times and the snowmaking staff have been chasing the temperatures and the humidity.”

Despite less than optimum temperature for snowmaking and little natural snow Whiteface has been able to offer over 2400 feet of vertical one a couple of trails.  There are plans to open the Whiteface Parks area on Broadway over the weekend.

Resorts are not the only ones feeling the effects of the warm temperatures according to Scott Brandi, president of Ski Areas of New York.  Retailers are having challenges too he said.  “After last year’s banner season in the east many retailers have stocked up on clothing and equipment. Without snow in backyards or mountains many consumers are holding off on purchases.  It if goes on too long retailers will be forced to place items on sale, and there goes their margins”, said Brandi.

A skier making turns on Lower Valley at Whiteface

A skier making turns on Lower Valley at Whiteface

Mike Bono, Chief Meteorologist from Time Warner Cable in Albany says the direct cause of the warm weather is a warm atmosphere over the eastern US caused by the positioning of the jet stream, which usually separates warm and cold air masses aloft. “The “jet” has been dipping down in the West with plenty of stormy weather, heavy rain and snow in that part of the nation much of the fall going further north than usual in the east, that puts us on the warm side here, keeping our atmosphere warmer than average with low pressure/ storm tracks going north of us.  That takes the snowy side of the lows well to our north and northwest” said Bono.

In the meantime there is skiing and riding out there. Call ahead or check on the conditions on-line before you head out.

Hang in there, colder weather and snow will come!

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What Meteorologist Mike Bono Says About the Warm Weather

I met Time Warner Cable News Meteorologist Mike Bono while skiing at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, New York last week.
So I said, “Mike, what’s up with this warm weather?”.

Here is what he said:

The direct cause of the warm weather is a warm atmosphere over the eastern US. Primarily responsible for that is the positioning of the jet stream, which usually separates warm and cold air masses aloft. That’s been dipping down in the West with plenty of stormy weather, heavy rain and snow in that part of the nation much of the fall. With the jet stream going further north than usual in the east, that puts us on the warm side here,

Mike Bone

Time Warner Cable News Chief Meteorologist Mike Bono

keeping our atmosphere warmer than average with low pressure/storm tracks going north of us. That takes the snowy side of the lows well to our north and northwest. We usually get snow when the low center moves just to our south and there’s cold air wrapped around to the north. Time Warner Cable News Chief Meteorologist Mike Bono

So, positioning of the storm tracks and the cold air to the north and west has moved the snow in that direction, leaving us with rain or nothing on the other, warm side of the storm track. Occasionally a colder high pressure system moves in behind a front for a couple of days, but things haven’t synched up for the right combination to produce snow.

Going a step further in causality, we have a very strong El Nino in place right now. That’s
abnormally warm water in much of the eastern Pacific, which is translating to warm air
there too, steering the jet stream in the directions I’ve talked about across the continent.

By the way, they’ve had some very heavy rain storms on the West Coast with snow at
elevation and the Rockies have been catching a lot of early season snow too. The northern Plains have been going back and forth between cold and snow and warm and dry.

If you think it sounds hard to explain what has happened and what we have now, it would be at least as difficult to accurately figure out how the rest of the season will play out.

Looks like, with brief variations to colder, we’ll probably stay on the mild side through Christmas.

Thanks Mike!

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Whiteface Mountain Opens “Taste of New York” Cafe

Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, New York recently opened the Taste NY Café in the recently constructed solarium in the base lodge. The café menu showcases fresh, locally sourced from New York State products including yogurts, cheese and charcuterie, pastries, snacks, wine and a selection cold, local beers on draft.

The Cafe features New York State Macintosh Apple Spice Muffins and New York City bagels from Davidovich Bakery  from Woodside, NY.

Also highlighted are milk, yogurt and cheeses from the North Country Creamery from Keeseville, NY. North Country Creamery features 100% grassfed, Non-GMO, & Animal Welfare Approved diary products. All products are feature local herbs, maple syrup & organic extracts–no added colors or stabilizers.

Davidovich bagels with cream cheese from the North Country Creamery makes for a great breakfast.

The solarium offers additional seating in a bright space complete with a coffee bar, free Wi-Fi internet and numerous outlets for charging electronics.

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Jumping at Lake Placid – June 2015

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