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Winter storm boosts Vt. resorts

Ski industry hopes for turnaround

Fresh snow covered skis after only 15 minutes outside yesterday at the lodge atop Sterling Mountain at Smuggler's Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vt. Fresh snow covered skis after only 15 minutes outside yesterday at the lodge atop Sterling Mountain at Smuggler's Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vt. (Alden Pellett/Associated Press)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. -- A winter storm blanketed parts of Vermont with fresh snow yesterday, and more was on the way, providing a timely boost to ski resorts for one of the biggest weeks in their year.

Up to 3 inches of fresh snow fell overnight, and an additional 8 inches was possible in some areas through this morning , ending a drought that had made for a slow start to the ski season for businesses that depend on it.

"It couldn't have come at a better time," said Chris Lenois, spokesman for Mount Snow resort. "We look at this as the beginning of our true season. The fact that we're able to talk about snow in the forecast, and the fact that we've been open since Thanksgiving, is driving traffic here."

Mount Snow, in the southern Vermont town of Dover, had 24 trails and eight lifts open -- only a fraction of its total operation, but enough for skiers antsy to hit the slopes after last year's unseasonably warm ski season.

"Last season was a struggle for the whole ski industry in the Northeast," Lenois said. "There's definitely a pent-up demand. People are here, and they're ready to ski, regardless of how many trails we have open."

For most of Vermont, it wasn't a white Christmas. But snow fell overnight -- 3 inches in Bethel, about 2.5 in Northfield and Worcester -- and total accumulations of 12 inches were possible before the storm passed, said the National Weather Service, which posted a winter storm warning.

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