Folks, we dodged a bullet. Earlier in the week, the S.G. was on the verge of a minor freak out. Temperatures have been well above normal since last weekend. No new snow was replenishing what was melting away. It felt like the beginning of April, not mid February.
Even worse, many of the mountains in our region experienced intermittent rain showers this past Sunday. Reports were that conditions went from the real packed powder to a more formidable hard pack/frozen granular surface. At least it was warm…
Then, last night the S.G. was watching an enormous blob of dark green and yellow on the radar taking aim at ski country. Not that easy to get all fired up and continue to post weekend deals hitting the inbox when hot water is falling on us. The S.G. was almost about to throw in the towel.
Reminder to Self: Take it Easy – this is New England. Good news ahead...
Good News: The majority of ski slopes have not seen a drop of rain since Christmas. We made it through January without a thaw. In fact, it was so cold last month the skier traffic was limited even though conditions were out of this world. We do not get very many stretches of good skiing, which last for such a duration, in these parts.
Now – a mere 24 hours later - we are back to normal. Conditions are going to improve just in time for the weekend warriors to howl.
Thursday morning’s weather reports were calling for cold upper level air to barrel in on the heels of the powerful storm heading east. You probably felt the winds picking up all day, and it will be a gloves and scarves day tomorrow in the Hub. This adjustment to the mean will also produce a much-needed shot of snow for the higher elevations. Be sure to check out what areas are reporting for Conditions.
Skiing and Riding Saved…at least for this holiday weekend.
More positive news: A lot of the mountains will take advantage of the cold temperatures and invoke a resurfacing campaign (making new snow) on trails that were suffering from the detrimental weather.
In Summary: This weekend should be A-typical for skiing and riding this time of year. You will find conditions of all types, depending on were you are skiing. Again, the higher elevations will get more and better snows. Trees or anything off piste are not recommended. That is unless over a foot of fresh fluff has fallen. Six inches will not do the trick on top of bulletproof ice. The best runs will be on slopes with grooming and snowmaking.
S.G. Note: When you are looking at radar loops, the coloring is done via weather stations reports of temperatures. Those reports are not coming from the tops of the ski mountains. That simply means that green over your favorite spot is not a sure sign of rain falling. It very well could be snowing. One of my favorite methods to debunk the radar is to pick up the phone, call resorts, and ask someone what is happening up there.
Skiing will not be supersonic this weekend, but it will be good. With all the deals and events going on there is really No Reason Not to make a few turns on the snow!
Ski Safe, Drive Safe & have FUN!
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.