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Where is winter?

Posted by Heather Burke  December 13, 2011 10:24 AM

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Despite the big talk of this ski season being a "La Nina," it has been a decidedly slow start with mild temps and low snowfall (if you forget the Halloween Snowtober storm). New England ski resort operators have been glued to their thermometers, waiting for ideal snowmaking temps and that perfect window to blow trails open. That opportunity came the past few nights, and trail counts and ski-able acreage improved a bit in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

On the ski resort leader board is Killington, regaining their title as Beast of the East, with the most acreage at 133 acres open for skiing. Sunday River is close behind at 98 acres open for skiing and riding, and they continue to blow a ton of snow on six peaks. Stratton, Mount Snow, and Okemo are all skiing on 50-70 acres, as are Bretton Woods and Loon in New Hampshire.

Tim Kelley, NECN meteorologist, predicts our short-range ski forecast will be "sunny with temperatures barely cold enough to make snow today through Tuesday, some snow in Vermont late Tuesday and Wednesday, warm and windy with less than a half-inch of rain Thursday. A cooling and drying trend moves in on Friday, with a few snow showers and wind gusts past 50 mph. Then cold and less windy for the weekend."

Many resorts have just a few trails open on entirely manmade snow, eager to up their trail counts as the important holiday week approaches. A snow dance and dreams of a White Christmas could help the cause, as skiers and riders tend to be very superstitious. These are perennial alpine activities during the typical early season alarm. Remember, it's not winter yet. As one ski friend told me, "any skiing before Dec. 21 are just good fall turns."

Photo by Greg Burke

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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 and


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