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Almost three feet of snow greets some areas in time for holiday week

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  December 20, 2012 08:38 AM

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Ski resorts from Maine to Vermont received a bit of Christmas white gold this week, when more than 30 inches of snow fell in some spots in New England, just in time for the upcoming busy holiday vacation week.

The jackpot totals were in northern Maine, where Saddleback and Sugarloaf are both reporting 32 inches since Sunday night, when the recent cycle of storms began. The snow helped both resorts dramatically increase their trail counts, with Saddleback running on 53 trails and glades (19 groomed) and Sugarloaf on 102 trails and five lifts as of Thursday. On an average year, Sugarloaf aims to have around 50 trails open for Christmas week.

"It's as open as we've been in December for some time," said Ethan Austin, the resort's communications manager. "To have over 100 is insane, actually. We couldn't be happier with that much terrain."

Thanks to the heavy snow, the area surrounding Sugarloaf suffered a wide power outage on Wednesday, yet the resort managed to make do by running a pair of lifts by diesel. Further to the south in Maine, Sunday River has also seen 14 inches over the past five days, and is now skiing and riding on 59 trails.

In New Hampshire, Wildcat had reportedly seen two feet of snow at its Pinkham Notch summit as of noon on Wednesday, but will still resume snowmaking operations beginning Friday night. In Vermont, Sugarbush and Stowe have both seen about a foot of snow over the last 72 hours. Mad River Glen also reported about 11 inches mixed in with some freezing rain, a good base-builder for the yet-to-open ski area.

Northern Maine and New Hampshire should be in for even more snow beginning on Friday, when an event begins that could bring a mix of precipitation elsewhere. NECN’s Matt Noyes predicts that the same mountains that saw this week’s bounty should be for even more. Elsewhere…it could be wait and see, and hope the rain doesn’t wash out the snow predicted to fall through Friday throughout much of New England.

Photo: Wildcat Mountain/Max Gosselin
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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 www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.

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