Record Heat Scorches Northeast Ski Season
Record heat in the Northeast has put the skids on the 2011-12 ski and snowboard season, with just a handful or resorts hanging on to trails buried in snowmaking over the past few months. But some resorts are wrapping up the season with big events, live music, and smiles well into April.
With more than 100 days of snowmaking this winter, Sunday River will have the most open terrain in New England this weekend when they host theDumont Cup Friday and Saturday, March 23-24.
“We have lost some terrain like everyone else, but as of this morning, we still have over 90 trails,” Sunday River's Sarah Devlin told SnoCountry.com. “We have more seasonable weather on the horizon, too, with temps dropping into the 20s and 30s at night with 30s and 40s (occasionally 50s) during the day (this weekend). This weekend looks great.”
Sunday River hosts its Retro 80s Celebration March 31 and its Parrothead Festival April 8-9. “We have not announced a closing date, but we fully expect to remain open into April,” Devlin added.
Killington Resort also plans to remain open into April with skiing and riding on Superstar trail, buried this winter with massive amounts of snowmaking.
“Our intention is to stay open for skiing and riding through the end of April, conditions permitting,” spokesperson Sarah Thorson said. Killington plans to host the Bud Light Intergalactic Pond Skimming Championships at the base of Superstar on April 1, right in front of the new Umbrella Bar.
With the most natural snowfall in New England this winter, spring skiing and riding will continue for at least the next few weeks at Jay Peak. “I expect we can make it to Easter,” Jay's JJ Toland told us. Jay Peak will host their annual Beach Party March 31.
The U.S. Freestyle Championships return to Stratton Mountain this weekend with the aerial competition Saturday in the base area. Front row seats on the deck at Grizzly’s will be the place catch all the action. As for the skiing and riding at Stratton, “we’re still shooting for April 8,” said Stratton’s Myra Foster, “but we’ll have to wait and see what this week brings.”
Mount Snow has announced they will be closing on Sunday, March 24, but not before “blowing Reggaefest out of the water,” along with pond skimming, the Cardboard Derby.
New Hampshire’s Mount Sunapee is loading up on events for the final days of the season, bringing out the AcroBag this weekend for everyone looking to grab some big air. Next week, Sunapee is offering $35 lift tickets for their Cares & Shares Food Drive Week, and FestEVOL March 31 and April 1 will feature live music from the Barenaked Ladies and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. As for the skiing and riding this weekend and a closing date for the season, Marketing Director Bruce McCloy said, it just depends on the weather.
The unprecedented record heat across the Northeast has shrunk the snowpack at all resorts and even on Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield, by more than 50 percent, and led to the early closure of most resorts in the southern portions of the Northeast.
“Our snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield snow stake went from 60" Saturday to 39” Tuesday,” NECN Meteorologist Tim Kelley told SnoCountry.com. “Ten 10-plus inches of melting per day! By my math the snowpack will be about 17" by the time freezing returns late Friday night.
“We are watching a big batch of Cold in Canada spreading south for arrival in New England Friday, Kelley added. “Yet the cold shows no sign is digging in and sticking around. While I do expect some snow and colder nights, it's too little too late to save the ski season.”
Enjoying the Spring riding at Killington / Killington photo
Snowcats move tons of snow for this week's Dumont Cup at SundayRiver / Sunday River photo
Sunshine and soft snow at Jay Peak / Jay Peak photo
Soaking up the sun at Okemo / Okemo photo