Spring is back, after a brief return to winter last week for skiers still craving more carving. After Sugarloaf wraps today, Killington and Jay Peak will be the only two still spinning their lifts. This is good news for Vermont since Gov. Shumlin declared skiing and snowboarding as their official winter sport this March, like New Hampshire did in 1998.
Sugarloaf may reopen next weekend, conditions permitting, but the forecast is far from wintry. While Jay Peak has gotten more natural snow recently, it looks like the Beast of the East wants to regain their status as earliest to open and last to close in the East. Of course, Boyne Resorts, of Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Loon, also want to boast the longest ski season amongst their sister resorts.
You may remember that the Big K opened on Oct. 29, just minutes before Sunday River (a gracious gesture from The River after Killington’s struggles post Hurricane Irene). Stay tuned, Earth Day is next Sunday, April 22, and whether skiing continues beyond that in the East depends on how much earth (in the form of brown ground and grass) pops up on the slopes.
I am skiing in Austria, a trip I booked back in January, when New England snow was pathetic, and the Arlberg & Tyrol region got dumped on with over 30 feet of snow. It is melting here quickly too, but the skiing on the Solden glaciers is superb, where the US Ski Team trains. More on that later, as I am between wifi hot spots, ski runs, and après ski gluehwein.
St Anton Austria photo by Greg Burke