In The Spotlight
With fresh snow falling, the January thaw is a distant memory at New Hampshire’s King Pine. Joining the groomer’s work making for great snow surfaces, snowmakers fired up across the mountain this week.
“King Pine always survives and thrives better than most when it comes to New England weather challenges and a January thaw. We remained open for day and night skiing, snowtubing, ice-skating, sleigh rides and more and conditions were stellar this past weekend thanks to our seasoned groomers with all but one trail open,” King Pine’s Thomas Prindle told SnoCountry.com.
“Snowmakers lit up the mountain starting Monday night refreshing all of our trails and will continue through the week. With today’s natural snow accumulations, we’ll be right back to 100 percent open by this weekend with ideal snow surfaces,” Prindle told us.
To maintain its snowmaking infrastructure, which is capable of covering 100 percent of its trails, King Pine recently spent close to a $300,000 installing 5,000 feet of new larger diameter snowmaking pipe; acquired 45 additional new HKD Snowmakers high-efficiency, low-energy tower and ground guns; and upgraded and refurbished four of its fan guns to the most up-to-date specifications.
All of this positions King Pine to move greater amounts of water, increase snowmaking performance, operate more guns covering greater terrain more quickly, all while significantly reducing the energy expended to do so.
January is Learn To Ski & Snowboard month and conditions are ideal to learn the basics. New skiers and riders can take the Learn To Ski & Snowboard beginner package for $39 in January. For ages 8+, the Learn To package includes lift ticket, lesson and rental equipment.
King Pine is also joining in with other Ski New Hampshire resorts to celebrate Ski New Hampshire Weekend, Jan. 27-28, recognizing New Hampshire's rich skiing heritage with special events, activities, demos, samples and of course, skiing and riding.
A much colder and snowier weather pattern returns to the West with feet of snow while the East warms up with more mixed precipitation.
Western U.S. & Canada
This is the best outlook for the entire West this season so far. The weather pattern is turning much colder and snowier. Beginning Thursday, a very strong low pressure system will be slamming British Columbia to northern California with heavy snow and wind.
On Friday the system will move southeast into Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Saturday it will glide across Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Sunday-Tuesday those same areas will receive yet another strong storm system.
During the period, snowfall tallies will reach/exceed 3-5 feet across the Sierras near Tahoe and 2-4 feet across the Cascade-Coast Ranges including Crystal Mountain in Washington and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia. Much lower but respectable snowfall amounts are likely inland with 12-18” across many areas.
Eastern U.S. & Canada
The outlook is mainly dry, warmer, with another round of rain turning to snow. Fresh snow from Wednesday the 17th can be enjoyed Thursday-Sunday. It will be breezy as temperatures slowly warm each day. Light snow showers with totals of 3-7” are likely in Ontario and Quebec during that time.
Sunday looks to be the best day for skiing and riding with the most comfortable temperatures and lightest winds. Monday/Tuesday a wintry mix of rain and snow will move through the East. Most of this will be rain changing to snow, but heavy snow will fall in the Midwest (Spirit Mountain, Afton Alps, and Nordic) 6-12” expected for parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The pattern looks warmer than average through the end of January for most of the East.
Lyndon State College seniors Philomon Geertson and Liam Kelleher contributed to this article.
Thanks to the popularity of rating sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, every retailer, restaurant and service provider in America is subject to appraisal by its customers. On the whole, this phenomenon is a positive development, even if human nature is such that many folks are more likely to rant about a negative experience than extol an exceptional one.
Even the best operation will occasionally fumble the service ball. Recently, a spate of mountain-out-of-molehill incidents that triggered a chorus of carping inspired one of my co-workers to lament, "I wish we had a way to rate our customers."
While I don't expect this insight to cause savvy venture capitalists to commit billions to its implementation, the comment from my beleaguered colleague made me think, "If I could conceive the ideal, five-star customer for ski gear, what would he or she be like?"
I can sum up the answer in one word: "prepared." (One of the Secrets to Life is that it never hurts to be prepared.) But this begs the question, what does good preparation look like?
Let's suppose you're looking for new skis and boots. Everyone with advice worth following will tell you to first focus on boots, so let's do the same here.
The first principle of boot buying is, "Don't look for a boot; look for a bootfitter." This doesn't mean that there's no value in reading up on the current boot market, only that you can't make a decision based solely on what you read, no matter how credible the source.
Accurate bootfitting that puts skiers in a comfortable, balanced position is an art that can't be practiced long distance. This is another way of saying, don't even think about buying ski boots online. You need to find a shop with which you can have a lasting relationship, not just for boot selection and fitting, but for all the other services skiing requires.
If you want to earn a 5-star rating from your bootfitter, here are 5 tips to help the bootfitting process:
- Bring thin ski socks or offer to buy a pair.
- Wear loose pants that can be rolled up, or shorts.
- Bring your old boots or a picture of same, if possible.
- Have some idea what flex index might be right for you.
- Bring patience, an open mind and a sense of humor to the proceedings.
On the flip side, here are three sure ways to lose a star or two:
- Ask to try on every boot in the store that's in or near your size.
- Grossly exaggerate your ability. It doesn't help your cause.
- Go through the fit process, then announce you'll think about it.
- Repeatedly overrule advice from experts trying to help you.
Once you're in the hands of an experienced bootfitter, all you really have to do to be considered a first-class customer is be open to suggestion, responsive when asked for feedback and decisive when need be.
When it's time to talk about skis, preferred customers prepare by:
- Knowing what skis they own, and which they plan to keep.
- Objectively self-assessing their ability, style and terrain preferences.
- Learning about the various ski categories and narrowing the choices down to no more than two.
- Reading ski reviews and brand profiles to see which models sound like the best fit for their style.
- Cutting the list of models they want to demo down to three.
To maintain a high ski-buyer rating, avoid:
- Steering the conversation off topic.
- Prolonged dithering.
- Insisting on ill-founded advice from an "expert."
In a perfect world, all specialty ski shops would merit a 5-star rating, as would all who patronize them. Alas, nobody's perfect. I confess to bungling a service assignment just last week and I'll probably commit another gaffe or two before season's end.
But it's never for lack of trying. At the end of the day, that's all we can ask of either side of the customer/shop equation, to do the best we can while working collaboratively towards a happy ending.
Skiers and snowboarders will once again be able to snack, sip and ski their way through Vermont’s favorite local food and drink vendors this year with the return of Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Days Tour. This slope side tour will kick off Jan. 26 at Jay Peak, visiting fifteen resorts over the course of ten weeks.
“The Ski Vermont Specialty Food Days Tour is something that we look forward to hosting each season,” said Adam Rowe, Ski Vermont Marketing Manager. “This tour gives us the opportunity to promote some of Vermont’s incredible vendors all while visiting slope side with skiers and snowboarders.”
During the tour, Ski Vermont will run an Instagram contest where the first five people at each Specialty Food Tour stop to share a picture with the #SnackSkiVT hashtag will receive a Cabot Cheese tote bag filled with vendor and Ski Vermont products. Follow Ski Vermont on Instagram at @Ski_VT during the Specialty Food Days tour to share images and stay up to date with each tour stop’s offerings.
New this season, Ski Vermont has added Vermont Amber Organic Toffee, Good Mix Foods, The Simmering Bone, Vermont Tortilla Company, SAP!, and Fat Toad Farm to the lineup. Other vendors include iconic Vermont brands Ben and Jerry’s, Long Trail, Cabot Cheese, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Barr Hill, Mad River Distillers, SILO Distillery, Kimball Brook Farm, It’s Arthurs Fault!, Ambrosia Confections and Mountain Grove Coffee.
The Ski Vermont Specialty Food Days Tour stops for 2018 are:
Friday, January 26, 2018 at Jay Peak Resort
Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Burke Mountain
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Mad River Glen
Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Killington Resort
Friday, February 11, 2018 at Pico Mountain
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Friday, February 23, 2018 at Okemo Mountain Resort
Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Bromley Mountain Resort
Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Middlebury Snow Bowl
Sunday, March 4, 2018 at Magic Mountain
Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Quechee Ski Area
Saturday, March 17, 2018 at Sugarbush Resort
Sunday, March 18, 2018 at Bolton Valley
Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Stratton Mountain Resort
Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Stowe Mountain Resort