Wow, spring skiing has preceded spring this year. Unseasonably warm temps brought soft bumps and mashed potato snow this past weekend to ski resorts across New England. As the season's worth of snowmaking softens in 70-degree sunshine, ski trail counts and base depths are dropping. This week's forecast is for more super warm weather, even in the mountains where the manmade and minimal natural snow is melting like Frosty the Snowman in the greenhouse as he tries to save little Karen.
Tim Kelley, NECN Meteorologist, reported record high temps up on Mount Washington today, 47-degrees at 6am which broke the 1945 record of 37-degrees. Kelley said, "Being a skier, watching the snow pack disappear this early is emotionally difficult to witness."
I agree, emotionally difficult indeed. I am an excessive optimist when it comes to skiing, always hopeful for the next big snowstorm, but the mercury this March is hard to ignore. If you love to ski, like me, you better ski ASAP. Tomorrow marks the first day of spring, a good day to hit the slopes. Remember that with such dramatic warm ups each day and cooler temperatures at night, the snow pack tends to firm up overnight and ski like hardened cement first thing in the morning. But with these unbelievably mild temperatures, the snow softens quickly, often by 10am you have ideal corn skiing, or loose frozen granular as the resorts like to report. Be sure to wear removable layers, sunscreen and slap some wax on your skis or board so when the snow turns sticky, you can glide through the glue.
Sunday River has over 100 trails open thanks to 100 days of snowmaking this winter, and they promise to make more snow when temps allow. Next weekend is loaded with events at The River, The 4th Annual Dumont Cup freeskier event hosted by Simon Dumont, the 27th Annual Maine Ski A Thon, and the 22nd Annual Eat the Heat Chili Contest and Firefighters Race.
It's not over, there's my skier optimism again. Like Hocus Pocus the Rabbit that saved Frosty by enlisting Santa Claus' help, I think skiing can make a comeback with a little March magic. Head for high elevation, northern locations for the best ski conditions right now; Saddleback, Sugarloaf, Jay Peak and Stowe - for example. There are plenty more spring ski events coming up, so think snow, channel your frostiest snowman thoughts, even though folks are wearing cutoffs and having cookouts.
Sunday River White Heat Photo by Greg Burke
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.familysktitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.