Ski trips are a gamble. You can map out every detail from lodging to ski terrain, but Mother Nature has the last say. Will you have sun or snow, wind, powder or warm spring conditions – or all of the above? It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. I am skiing in Switzerland in an unusual high pressure system, giving us glorious sunshine, 40F, with midwinter skiing at the high alpine summits and soft spring snow at the base. I packed too many handwarmers and not enough sunscreen.
Meanwhile, I see Snow Storm Vulcan veering up the East coast about to dump another wintry mix on New England and potentially two plus feet of powder in central Vermont and Northern Maine.
Impressive that the Weather Channel has blazed through their alphabetic names to V by mid-March. Might we exceed 26 snow storms this season? That would be a skiers’ delight for sure, setting up excellent conditions for the remainder of the ski season in New England.
Here in Switzerland, we have skied amazingly long scenic descents, off a 9,000’ glacier at Gstaad, to adventurous drops from the James Bond famous Piz Gloria at Schilthorn in The Jungfrau, even skied the Lauberhorn Downhill where Bode Miller won Gold in 2012 and the slalom course in Wengen where Ted Ligety seized Super Combined Gold this January. Skiing off the 10,000’ Titlis Glacier in Engelberg today was epic.
That’s my box of chocolates, the Swiss kind, fondue too. Tomorrow I hope to be able to return home in the middle of a snowstorm, and not have too much snow in my driveway – funny, kind of.
See you on the slopes. Photos of Gstaad and Engleberg Switzerland by Greg Burke
Snocountry's Halley O'Brien is at Burke Mountain, where March has come in like a lion. Skiing and riding couldn't be setting up better for March's warmer temps which are hopefully coming soon.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens has the latest on conditions from the slopes in this week's forecast.
Snocountry's Halley O'Brien has the latest word from the slopes of New England, including experiencing First Tracks at Sugarbush Mountain Resort in Vermont.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens has the latest forecast for the slopes this weekend.
Our great friend Art was eager to ski Sugarloaf with us, to show off his home mountain in ideal midwinter conditions. Brilliant blue sky, a balmy 30 degrees and a strong breeze were the precursors of our day as we arrived at the Superquad at 8:20am for first chair, only to find a big red Wind Hold sign.
So we hoofed it up to the Double Runner, the only chair lift open, to reach the T-Bar which Art assured us was the way to go. Riding up this old school steep T-Bar is a blast from the past but pragmatic on a super windy day. From the upper mountain, our first run down the iconic Narrow Gauge was worth the thigh-burner T-Bar ascent as we scored sweet soft windblown on skier's left. As I skied the pitch, I pictured Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, so many US Ski Team racers having carved these same steeps.
Another T-Bar ride brought us to more snow loaded bumps on Spillway's leeward side. By the time we circled back to the T-Bar, we were met with a legion of Loafers, other skiers derived the same plan as us. As we waited in line, I overheard skiers praising this practical lift. "Thank god for the T-Bar today," several said. A few even bemoaned the loss of other T-Bars that were strategically placed across Sugarloaf's face back in the day.
After that 3rd lift, we decided to break away from the pack by hiking a few hundred feet up boot pack steps to where Skyline usually unloads. Spillway Crosscut was blustery to say the least but brought us over to Widowmaker where we discovered more fun windblown waves and no one but the three of us to surf these fresh mounds of pow. By the time we arrived at the base, the Super Quad was running with a sizeable line, but worth the wait - my thighs were thankful for the cushy four seat quad chair. We slipped in several sweet runs on Sugarloaf classics like Skidder and Double Bitter.
Skyline opened for a few hours and we seized that window to ski the steeps of White Nitro, Gondi line, Wedge and Sluice. Pole Line was a particularly special untracked gem. Art launched off a huge drift here and biffed - only to stand up with a heartwarming snow-eating grin.
The wind kept howling but the sunshine was brilliant, views were amazing, and the Sugarloafers were all smiles. It doesn’t take a lot to make Loafers happy, they don’t need fancy lodges or lifts, just some snow, temps above zero, and a T-Bar. Add sunshine and they are ecstatic.
I should mention Art was rockin' his 80s Nevica anorak and matching purple pants – which put a smile on many a face that recognized and remembered that vintage gear. He peppered a few spread eagles and some ski ballet dance moves into our ski runs just for fun, and flashback.
Lunch at The Bag was all that needed to be said and we pointed our skis there. People were pouring into this Sugarloaf institution for an early lunch. After devouring a delicious juicy Bag Burger, I see why this place jams - friendly servers and simple satisfying fare steps to the ski slopes.
These are the ingredients to a great ski day at the Loaf. Friends, freshies, perhaps a strong breeze but stronger resiliency on the part of the Loafers. It's what it means to be a Sugarloafer. See you on the Slopes.
Sugarloaf photos by Greg Burke, February 2014
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens has the latest conditions and forecast for the slopes of New England.
Snocountry's Halley O'Brien brings this week's snapshot from the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y. and Whiteface Mountain, site of the 1932 and '80 Olympic Games, and also has a rundown of what to expect on the slopes this weekend.
In this week's Ski The East Snowcast, Tim Kelley breaks down what was a magnificent snow week in the Northeast, and hints that there may be more in store after a lull this weekend. "Round 3" looks outstanding for the last week of February and first week of March.
I excepted big crowds and lift lines given the new snow and sunshine on this peak holiday weekend. Instead, I found soft untracked snow, and bagged 31 runs and over 40,000' vertical feet on Saturday at Sunday River. While the parking lot and lodges were busy, Greg and I often found trails all to ourselves as we skied soft fresh snow from Jordan Bowl to White Cap, with rarely a lift line wait. We skied solid from 8am-3:30pm, with an early break for lunch at the Foggy Goggle - when you get up at 5, and are skiing at 8, you get hungry by 11.
For President's holiday with near perfect ski conditions, skiers were surprisingly dispersed amid Sunday River's 800 acres. Families were spread out in the glades of recently expanded Blind Ambition, while park fans were hitting the elements on T-72 and loving the landings on soft snow. The River's typically steep, unforgiving runs like iCarumba, Agony and White Heat were fun and forgiving thanks to the almost two feet of fresh snow in the past week.
Just a shout out to the mom who took her snowplowing daughter down White Heat, this long, steep trail is no place for a wedging novice skier - ever - even under optimal conditions. Way to endanger your daughter and others, while crushing your girl's fragile ski confidence, or scaring her from skiing entirely.
Back to the best ski conditions, as I look at trail counts around New England, many resorts are at or near 100% open, ideal for school vacation week, with some of the best winter ski conditions around and more seasonal temperatures than Sochi. How are the trails and lift lines where you are?
Photos by Greg Burke, Sunday River Downdraft and Agony Trails, February 15, 2014
Halley O'Brien checks out the slopes at Catamount and Butternut, both in Massachusetts, and gives a preview of what to expect on the slopes of New England this weekend.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens brings you the latest skiing conditions in New England, where one of the season's biggest storms is set to hit.
Tim Kelley breaks down the latest storm for the Northeast, which only happens to be the biggest of the season, in his weekly Ski the East hit.
Fresh snow has been falling in almost every mountain region of the country in the past week. Resorts couldn't be happier as the President's Day holiday approaches. Snocountry's Halley O'Brien has this week's snapshot from Camelback Mountain.
Herb Stevens, the skiing weatherman, has your latest conditions report from New England's most prominent slopes.
What does the latest round of snow in the forecast mean for skiers and riders? Tim Kelley breaks in down in this week's Ski the East Snowcast.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens brings you the latest from the slopes in this week's skiing and riding forecast.
Tim Kelley asks the questions most skiers and riders are asking themselves this weekend: Where is the snow? Well, the Ski the East correspondent has some good news in his latest Snowcast.
For more, visit www.skitheeast.net.
SnoCountry's Halley O'Brien enjoys the swift, smoothly-groomed slopes and majestic views of Lake Winnipesaukee at Gunstock, N.H. Fair weather skiers and riders can finally rejoice and relax. We have a break in the weather lasting the rest of the week.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens brings you the latest conditions from the slopes.
Most Northeastern ski areas didn't cash in on the big snowstorm earlier this week but they picked up fresh powder last weekend to go with this week's arctic cold snowmaking. Snocountry's Halley O'Brien breaks it all down from the slopes of Crested Butte.
Looking for the snow? I found it... in Montana. The 4th largest state in the country is home to big snow once again this season. Big Sky Resort in Montana is snowy and huge, with its recent acquisition of neighboring Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks ski areas, Big Sky now offers 5,750-acres of ski terrain - the biggest skiing in America on one ticket.
I just returned from Big Sky, skiing soft fresh snow eight days in a row, base depths are up to 67'' and growing - among the most snow in the country right now along with Grand Targhee, Jackson Hole, Alta/Snowbird and Steamboat.
Arriving at Big Sky Resort, having reserved lodging at Big Sky, I loved brandishing my New England Gold Pass for free lift tickets, since Big Sky is a Boyne sister resort to Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Loon. Pretty amazing pass benefit.
What's really amazing about Big Sky is the terrain, over 250 named trails serviced by 29 lifts, an 11,166' summit peak and a jaw dropping 4,350' vertical. Big Sky is bigger than Vail (5,750-acres versus 5,289) with a fraction of the skiers. Picture yourself under brilliant western blue sky, skiing snowy trails stretching for miles, often without another skier in sight. Skiing from the Lone Peak summit off the 15 passenger Tram is some of the best, beefiest, all-natural above tree-line steeps, snowfields and chutes I have found in the US, Europe and Canada, rivaling Verbier and surpassing Jackson Hole in my mind.
But Big Sky has plenty of blue squares, gorgeous glades and hundreds of groomed runs among the seven super scenic mountain aspects. At the end of each ski day, you descend to Big Sky's resort village, for a Montana ale at one of the cowboy bars, or hit the outdoor hot tub with a view of the mighty mountains you just skied. I suggest you go discover the snow at the biggest skiing in America at Big Sky before everyone else does. Big Sky Montana Photos by Greg Burke
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens says the thaw is almost over and to expect mid-winter conditions to return to New England ski areas soon. Here's his latest trail report.
New England ski areas kept rolling with the punches during the January thaw. Snocountry's Halley O'Brien's Snocountry breaks down this week's ski report from Okemo Mountain Resort.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens is at Sunday River, where he delivers this weekend's skiing and riding forecast, as well as breaks down the importance of QBO in terms of winter weather.
Halley O'Brien explores the slopes of Mount Snow with skiing on four mountain faces. The resort's Carinthia Mountain has several terrain parks with dozen of features. Ski surfaces are improving each day after a rough start to the week.
Herb Stevens, the skiing weatherman, has your latest conditions report from New England's most prominent slopes.
Halley O'Brien takes her snowboard to the Catskills of New York to celebrate the New Year at Windham Mountain.
Here we go 2014. We are starting the year with more snow, as snow storm Hercules sweeps through New England. I admittedly enjoy the Weather Channel winter storm names, it give personality and punch to snow storms. Who can forget last year's Nemo, right?
Ski resorts like Wachusett, Gunstock and Jiminy Peak, Mount Snow and Camden Snowbowl should see up to a foot in the next 24 hours from this storm. My prediction is that this will be a great weekend to ski. This incoming snow is looking very dry, light and fluffy - a skier's dream, hero snow for shoveling too I suppose. The first January weekend after the holidays is typically much quieter on the ski slopes. Friday, Saturday and Sunday should be great days on the ski slopes, with Saturday being the sunniest. If you call yourself a skier, you should be making plans for "powder flu Friday" and weekend warrior skiing.
Photos by Greg Burke
While the New England Patriots were playing, and winning, in the pouring rain, the mountains of New England yielded snow. Pats won themselves an important Bye Week while ski resorts got the best bonus- new natural snow during their important holiday week. Maine and New Hampshire ski resorts received as much as a foot of snow last night, making today a powder day for some. Vermont's Green Mountains are white with 6-7 inches of fresh snow overnight plus a few dustings over the past few days.
Sunday River and Shawnee Peak both netted a foot of snow, The River has 77 trails and 408 acres of skiing, while Shawnee Peak has 93% of their terrain open (37 trails). New Hampshire also got 10-12' of snow, bringing trails counts at Bretton Woods, Cranmore, Loon, Sunapee, and Wildcat up over 40 trails.
Okemo Mountain Resort has the most terrain open in the East, 82 trails with 484 acres of skiing and riding. Stratton and Stowe both have over 70 trails, Killington has 62, Jay Peak 58.
Ski resorts throughout New England are planning special celebrations for New Years Eve including fireworks, live entertainment and bonfires. More good news for skiers, the first big snowstorm of 2014 is already brewing, expected to bring six plus inches of snow to New England Thursday and Friday. So being lodged at the ski slopes to start 2014 is the place to be. New Year's morning will be a great time to ski, if you get my drift.
See you on the slopes.
Photos of Okemo & Sunday River by Greg Burke
Halley O'Brien is at Seven Springs, Penn., where she delivers this week's snapshot for Snocountry.
In this week's spot, Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" explains what he looks for in forecasting winter weather, and delivers this weekend's ski report.
To everyone that thinks working at a ski resorts sounds like a dream job, picture this week. They'll be working extra hours, including Christmas day, to assure vacationing families and skiers the best possible holiday. A week ago, ski resort operators rejoiced over a foot of fresh snow. Then the first day of winter brought warmth and the four letter word that starts with R and ends with N. Now ski areas are watching the thermometer and sending their snowmakers back out to resurface trails that lost snow cover. It's never dull in the ski biz, and holidays often mean time away from their families. Ski resort employees are consistently faced with the challenge of winter weather inconsistency, particularly around the important Christmas New Year's holidays. As Sunday River's snow report says, "Our snowmakers are back at it tonight working harder than the elves at Santa’s workshop. The elves make toys while we make snow!"
It's still a White Christmas at ski resorts throughout New England, a veritable winter wonderland, with sparkling trees and many snow blanketed trails. In fact, Okemo is 60% open, with the most ski terrain in the East - 72 trails on 438 acres. Killington has 55 trails and 309 acres of skiing. Stratton, Stowe, Mount Snow and Bromley all have over half their terrain open. In Maine, Sunday River has 56 trails and almost 300 acres of terrain, Sugarloaf is skiing on 26 trails and 202 acres. In New Hampshire, Cranmore, Attitash, Sunapee, Loon, Waterville Valley and Gunstock all have about three dozen trails and top to bottom skiing. There are also plenty of festive events planned, après ski bonfires, fireworks, skiing mascots out for photos. This year's Christmas New Year's holidays falling on Wednesday provides many New England ski families with two weeks of no school for the kids. I can't think of a better excuse to spend some of that time on the ski slopes.
Just remember that last weekend's warmth followed by a return to freezing temps will make for some fast ski conditions. Look for trails counts to start to climb as ski resorts work hard to freshen their slopes with manmade snow and all important grooming. Ski with care and have fun on the slopes.
Happy Ski Holidays! See you on the slopes.
Photos of Killington and Pico Vermont by Greg Burke Dec 19-20, 2013
Hoo boy, that's the question, huh?
Northestern and Midwestern Ski Resorts are going strong from two snowstorms this week and Arctic cold snowmaking. So the holidays are shaping up nicely despite challenging weather in the Northeast this weekend.
Herb "The Skiing Weatherman" Stevens brings you the latest update on the mountains from the slopes at Loon.
My love for Okemo started years ago. It wasn't just the snow or the beautiful Vermont views or the array of on mountain lodging - it was Snow Stars - their awesome Children's Ski Lesson Programs. Our kids were happy from morning till afternoon with their instructors and the ski buddies they met. They learned plenty, but still had enthusiasm for the outdoor heated pool and the Kids Only Pizza Party in the evening. This left Greg & I time to savor Okemo's exceptional on mountain dining at Epic, or the cozy Coleman Brook Tavern at Jackson Gore Inn.
Well, my kids are grown, and for me this past weekend Okemo was all about the Snow. They call it Operation Snowburst. Okemo now has 1,075 HKD snowguns, and over 7,000 gallons per minute of pumping power. Sounds technical but what these snowmaking advancements mean to you skiers is the most open ski terrain in the East at the moment.
Last Saturday, before the big snowstorm, Okemo had over half the mountain open - 67 trails of their 120. The man-made conditions were super. And then it snowed 16" overnight and Sunday we were skiing that fantastic mix of manmade groomed snow topped with dense natural powder - delicious. Oh by the way, Okemos's on mountain food is still some of the best in ski country. It rivals Deer Valley. My short ribs were to die for, so was the turnip cupcake with maple frosting dusted with Vermont bacon (sweet + savory = superb). Then I had to ski some more of the 478 open acres of Okemo's Operation Snowburst before my ski pants did (burst that is).
See you on the slopes.
Okemo Mountain Resort Photos by Greg Burke, Dec 2013
Snowstorm Electra delivered just what New England ski resorts had ordered the week before Christmas. Serious snow! Saturday night's snowstorm brought over a foot of dense powder to ski resorts from Mass to Vermont, through New Hampshire and Maine. Ski areas received a huge boost to their snowmaking efforts as 12-16" of natural snow blanketed their trails with a freebie from Mother Nature. Ski trail counts shot up on Sunday morning as ski areas dug out their ski lifts and dropped ropes on new ski terrain. Okemo Mountain Resort went from 67 trails to 91 overnight. The snowstorm was dubbed Electra by the Weather Channel in their annual A-Z winter storm naming.
On the ski leader boards, Okemo has the most open acreage in the East, with over 478 acres of skiing and riding on over 90 trails. Next up is Killington with 82 trails and 352 acres of ski terrain. Sunday River leads the Maine trail count with 67 tails and 331 acres including White Heat. Other big winners include Mount Snow with 46 trails and 415 acres, and Stowe with 80 trails and 345 acres of skiing. In Massachusetts, Wachusett is nearing 100% open with 18 of their 23 trails open already. Same goes for Butternut with 21 or 22 trails open.
You might recall we had a similar snow storm last year the week prior to Christmas. For comparison, last season at this time Sunday River had 51 trails open versus today's 67. The take away: ski resorts are in even better shape as they enter the 2013 Christmas holiday season. Cold temperatures for continued snowmaking are in the forecast, with another snow event tomorrow, Tuesday. And winter doesn't officially arrive until Saturday December 21.
Looks like skiers and snowboarders, along with ski resort operators, are getting that White Christmas they asked for ahead of schedule.
See you on the snowy slopes.
Okemo Photos taken Dec 15, 2013, by Greg Burke
Cold snowmaking temps and snow flurries all week have New England ski resorts prime for weekend ski time! In addition to new terrain opening up, skiers and riders will find a flurry of ski resort events to lure them to the mountains, and away from the shopping malls and Christmas parties.
I'm heading to Okemo Mountain Resort for the 5th annual Super Ski and Snowboard Demo on Saturday, Dec. 14. This is your chance to sample the latest skis and boards from Nordica, Liberty, Faction, Blizzard, Kastle, Atomic, Rossignol, Salomon, Head, Ramp, Never Summer, Spy, and more. A Demo Tent city will be set up at Okemo's Jackson Gore Saturday from 8am to 2pm. A credit card swipe is all you need to test drive this year's new gear. Okemo has the most terrain in Vermont for skiing, over 20.7 miles of snowy trails.
Sunday River opens White Heat on Saturday, and debuts night skiing from 4-8pm for just $5, or free with your day ticket or pass. Saturday is Winterfest at Sunday River, so look for Santa to arrive by Chondola that evening, fireworks will fill the sky at 8:30 and an Ugly Sweater Party caps of the ski day at the Foggy Goggle. If you donate a coat at the 9pm après ski party, you could win a Season Pass.
Bolton Valley opens Friday for the ski season, and hosts Skiing Santa Day on Sunday Dec 15. Anyone dressed in full Santa attire can ski free that day. Burke Mountain opens for their season Saturday with $49 tickets for top to bottom skiing and riding.
Bretton Woods turns 40 and celebrates with $40 lift tickets this Saturday, commemorating their opening day four decades ago - Dec 14, 1973.
The Weather Channel snowstorm Electra may bring even more snow this weekend. The only question is whether or not you will be on the slopes to enjoy the freshies?!
See you on the slopes.
Photos by Greg Burke
Every ski season I get anxious. I have to get that first ski day out of the way. Honestly, I get worked up, worry if my equipment will be right, will my fitness level be sufficient. Will I remember how to ski? Turns out every year that first day, those first ski turns, go well. Phew. After 40 years of skiing (OMG - scary stat), it's truly like riding a bike - muscle memory and ski habits aren't forgotten.
My first day back on skis was this Sunday, and I didn't forget anything - not even goggles or hand warmers (thanks to my mental checklist). My husband Greg & I left the house well before dawn and arrived at Sunday River before 8am lift opening. The only thing I had forgotten over the snowless months was how hard it is to put my ski boots on..."rrrg" (that's the sound I make in the ski resort parking lot wedging my feet in my tight boots).
My season's first turns on a brand new trail, T72 at Sunday River, were sublime. Well groomed snow was grippy and fast on the cold clear morning. And all those favorite ski sensations came back like an old friend - the pull of gravity, the view of perfect cord in my path, the carve of my boards on the snow, and that familiar fire in my quads. Next run we loaded the gondola with Roxanne and Wayne Cartwright, so nice to see friendly ski faces we haven't seen since last winter. "First day this year?" I asked. "14," Wayne replied. Game on, good to be back on skis, I have got some serious catching up to do.
Photos by Greg Burke, Sunday River
Every Friday throughout the ski season, Adam 12 and yours truly will discuss what's happening on the slopes on Radio BDC. Here's this week's segment.
Halley O'Brien is at Bretton Woods, N.H., where the Snocountry correspondent presents this weekend's skiing and riding conditions throughout the Northeast.
What does it take to be a snowmaker in New England? Red Bull, dark cold night shifts and determination according to Sunday River's snowmaking team. As Sunday River's President Dana Bullen says, "It's part of our DNA." It also takes 10 million gallons of water to make 24 hours of snow, and 9 weeks and $2.5 million to cover Sunday River with their legendary talcum powder conditions.
Watch this Man vs. Weather pilot video created by Mainer Rory Strunk and see what goes into making White Heat white! Kudos to those who make snow!
Have you heard enough about Black Friday by now? Seems like a ridiculous way to spend a holiday. Wouldn't' you rather be skiing? But if you are feeling the pressure of scoring deals and shopping for gifts, here are a few ski resorts that have you covered. You can enjoy Friday's fresh groomed corduroy, do some shopping and enjoy some savings to boot.
Wachusett will be selling their COW card, a great gift valid for any purchase at the ski mountain, when you buy Black Friday you get a $55 gift card for $50 and a bonus holiday ski ornament. Also the first 50 skiers at MTNSide ski and ride shop will receive a free early season lift ticket.
Wildcat will have $39 lift tickets on Black Friday and throughout the weekend. Wildcat also sells gift cards and Vertical Value Cards which your ski friends would be wild about receiving.
Sunday River plans to open the Chondola on Friday, and will host Demo Days Saturday and Sunday so you can try before you buy the latest skis and boards from Fischer, Salomon, Head, Ramp, Dynastar, K2, Atomic, and Rossignol to name a few. Your $10 demo fee is applicable to a purchase at Sunday River Sports. You can ski, shop and save on lodging packages you reserve now for the season, just buy before Dec 1. The River is also promising some really big lodging and lift ticket deals on Cyber Monday too.
Sugarloaf is offering their sweet Zoom Room deal again, buy a $99 room reservation before Dec 1 and you can use it any time this winter within 48 hours (read: snowstorm, snowed in, sweet).
Sugarbush has a sweet Quad Pack, buy 4 lift tickets for $199, no blackouts, totally transferable to friends & family, but must be purchased by midnight Saturday!
After this pre-Thanksgiving rain and wintry mix from storm Boreas, snowmakers will get back to work making some cold fresh snow for your White Friday. Skip the malls and ski the mountains. Be sure to check your inbox after enjoying your turkey for more Black Friday ski deals and weekend offerings. Happy Thanksgiving skiers and riders.
Photos of Sunday River and Sugarbush by Greg Burke
Cold temperatures continue to this Thanksgiving week as the weather has clearly been switched to winter mode in the mountains. Skiers have much to be thankful for. Already this season 18 New England ski resorts have opened for skiing and riding. Compare that to last year when just 9 had opened. Turkey Day will be particularly chilly, and Black Friday could be quite white.
Killington continues to lead the pack with the most trails open (29) in the East, having opened back in October. Sunday River and Sugarloaf are next in line with two dozen trails each with natural snow mixed in with their bounty of man made. In New Hampshire, Bretton Woods, Loon, Waterville Valley, and Wildcat are all open, Cranmore was open for the weekend and will reopen Friday. Vermont has the most ski resorts open, Killington, Stowe, Okemo, Mount Snow, Stratton, Smugglers Notch and Sugarbush. Bromley and Jay Peak will re-open Friday. Wachusett is open, Jiminy Peak will reopen Friday.
If you are thinking of a last minute trip out west, Grand Targhee Wyoming is wide open, as is Wolf Creek Colorado - having received significant snow storms in the past few days.
So skip the mayhem of Black Friday, people pushing each other in malls and jamming shop parking lots. Make plans to hit the mountains and make your Friday White, burn off that tryptophan carving some turns in freshly made snow. Stay tuned for Black Friday White Sale lift ticket deals. See you on the slopes.
Photos of Okemo, Vermont and Grand Targhee Wyoming, by Greg Burke
Hey skiers and riders, looking to make tracks this week and weekend? Here is a rundown of where you can make ski runs right now. Sunday River and Killington both opened last month, and continue to offer the most ski terrain by far in New England. Sunday River has 19 trails and Killington offers 23.
Okemo in Vermont has 10 trails, while New Hampshire's Bretton Woods and Loon are skiing on 5 and 7 trails respectively. This coming weekend, look for Sugarloaf to open, along with Stowe, Sugarbush and Stratton. Bromley and Mount Snow hope to reopen this weekend. The weather is predicted to be colder later this week, providing snowmakers more favorable snowmaking conditions. Also potentially mountain flurries are in the forecast at higher elevations so more New England ski resorts may start spinning.
Out west, Wolf Creek in south western Colorado has the most terrain open, 70 of 77 trails, with a 36" base. In Europe, big snow has fallen on Austria and Switzerland. Obergurgl and Solden Austria along with Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland have received over 100" of snow already this season!
Get your pre-Thanksgiving skiing in. Break out the skis and boards, go burn some calories before next week's big feast. Bring three cans of non perishable food items to Sunday River's Tin Mountain food drive this weekend, and receive a discounted lift ticket for skiing and riding, stay tuned for details.
Photos of Sunday River and Wolf Creek by Greg Burke
This was the scene at Jay Peak last Wednesday.
That is all.
Hey skiers, Bretton Woods is inviting you to play hooky the day before Halloween, with free skiing and riding today, top to bottom on the Range View trail off the Zephyr high-speed quad lift. How's that for a pre-Halloween treat? No tricks, except that this is today only October 30, 9am- 4pm.
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire's largest ski resort, and first in New Hampshire to open this season, following Vermont's Killington and Maine's Sunday River who opened to the public Saturday, Oct 26. Killington has remained opened this midweek.
Bretton Woods will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, the New Hampshire resort has invested $1.15 million in snowmaking, and is offering a mile of advanced ski terrain on 1,000' vertical today. Bretton Woods will be closed Halloween day until colder snowmaking weather resumes, predicted early next week.
So ski free today while you can because tonight we will be celebrating the Red Sox World Series win, right?! Keep the faith and enjoy your first tracks!
Bretton Woods Photo by Greg Burke, March 2013 skiing
Anyone want to go skiing this weekend? Killington Resort just opened today, October 24 at 1:30pm - first in the East for skiing for the third consecutive year. The K-1 gondola will spin today and Friday exclusively for Killington season passholders and Express Card members . Killington, a.k.a. Beast of the East, opens officially to the public Saturday October 26, 2013, with $49 lift tickets, for advanced and expert skiers and riders on the Rime trail.
You may recall that last season Killington gave their passholders the longest ski season by opening first Oct 14, later opening for the public Nov 5, and staying open thru Memorial Day weekend.
This weekend the KBL, Killington Base Lodge, will be open with skier service, food and of course bar service. Killington's new summit Peak Lodge is not scheduled to open until December of 2013. Still the Beast is back and first!
Who will open next for early season skiing in New England? Sunday River just announced they will open Saturday October 26 at 8am on T-2 and Upper Punch via the Locke Mountain Triple. If Killington doesn't open to the public till 9am, does that make Sunday River first?! I will let you decide, it's all good news for New England skiers.
Out west in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin opened October 13, 2013 and nearby Loveland opened the following week on Oct 17, 2013. I know its Red Sox fever time, but ski season is on too. I personally love when the ski season and New England sports overlap. In Solden, Austria this weekend, the US Ski Team kicks off their World Cup racing season too with Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller back and in business. Go Sox, Go Pats, Go Skiing! #winning
Photo from Killington Resort
Memorial weekend will be your last chance, last dance on skis. Killington will be open free for skiing this weekend - their swan song and season finale. Although the Big K, a.k.a.: Beast of the East, had attempted to ski into June, Mother Nature has had other ideas, and significant rain this week thwarted that valiant effort for summer vertical.
Good news however, Killington will offer absolutely free skiing this Saturday and Sunday to everyone. So you can squeeze in some Memorial weekend skiing May 25 -26, lift hours are 8-5pm on the Superstar Express Quad with skiing on the Superstar trail. Some walking between snow-less patches will be required, late spring conditions are the word. But did I mention - "it's free"!? And it's your last chance for lift serviced skiing and riding in the East till - Halloween?
See you on the slopes!
The Beast of the East, Killington Vermont, wins the last ski resort spinning award again this spring. All the other big dogs of late season skiing have closed, most recently Sugarloaf and Sugarbush last weekend. While Killington is closed midweek, they plan to run the Superstar Express Quad with advanced ski terrain Friday - Sunday every weekend through June 2 if the snow allows. Lift tickets are $39, and if you present a ski pass or ticket from another resort you get 50% off Friday's ticket, 25% off Saturday and Sunday.
Killington was first to open this ski season as well, on Oct 13 exclusively to passholders. The last time Killington stayed open into June was June 1, 2002. The latest the Beast has been open was June 22, 1997 with that year's bounty of 301-inches of snow. This year's snow accumulation is at about 250-inches.
For decades Killington was The Beast with the longest ski season in the East, then Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and even Jay Peak, gave it a run. Looks like the Beast is back, and the European style umbrella bars, added in 2011 after Irene damaged the Superstar Pub, are the perfect complement to spring skiing.
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.