Snow, cold temperatures and the hiss of snowmaking have returned to the Northeast this week as two of the largest resorts in New England have opened for the season.
Vermont’s Killington Resort re-opened for the season Monday (Killington had opened the weekend of Oct.13-14 for a season Pass Holders Appreciation event). Maine’s Sunday River kicked off snowmaking Saturday and opened for the season Tuesday.
“Thanks to our new energy-efficient snowguns, we’re able to make more snow on more trails by using less air than in years past,” said Sunday River’s president and general manager Dana Bullen. Sunday River invested more than $1 million into snowmaking upgrades over the summer.
Vermont's Okemo Mountain Resort will join Killington and Sunday River in the open category on Thursday (Nov. 8). The central Vermont resort began making snow on Sunday and plans to offer skiing and riding on four upper mountain trails.
Both Killington and Sunday River plan to offer expanded terrain as snowmaking conditions permit. In addition, Mother Nature may also lend a hand with a good ole fashion Nor’easter this week.
This looks like a Wednesday night into Thursday storm with accumulations of maybe 4-8 inches for the mountains from New York to Mass to Vermont,” said OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz. “The exact track of the storm is still up in the air, and therefore so are the snow accumulations. I wouldn't be surprised to see 12 plus inches in some areas, but it's still a bit early to know.”
Throughout the Northeast, resorts have kicked off snowmaking operations as they gear up for the season. At Vermont’s Jay Peak Resort, snowmaking, along with a few inches of natural snow, will provide a solid base for opening day, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 23.
“We fired up the guns (Sunday) night and will be running them as long as temps cooperate,” said Jay’s JJ Tolland. “Plus, we picked up a few inches of natural and expect more out of this Nor'easter headed our way.”
Stratton Mountain, Vermont expects to have in excess of 230 snow guns in operation this week as temperatures drop as they prepare for opening day on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
“The sweet sound of snow guns echoes around the mountain,” said Stratton’s Myra Foster. “Our snowmaking system is running on full force since firing up Sunday with more than 160 snow guns.”
Mount Snow, Vermont has also started to make snow on six trails and plans to open one run this weekend. Tickets will be $10 and all proceeds will go to Superstorm Sandy Relief.
With snowmaking season in full force, those snowmakers trudging through the dark of night are beginning to sport the season’s best facial protection, full beards and mustaches.
“Ninety-one snowmakers currently have beards or some semblance of facial pelt,” Tolland said of Jay’s snowmaking crew.
Photos: Top: Ski season returns to Killington / Killington Resort Photo
Killington snowmaker sporting the latest winter warmth fashion / Killington Resort Photo
Looking like mid-winter at Jay Peak Resort / Jay Peak Photo
Sunday River opens Tuesday, Nov. 6 / Sunday River Photo
Snowmaking is underway at Sugarloaf / Sugarloaf photo
Stratton Mountain kicked off snowmaking operation on Sunday / Stratton Mountain photo
Mount Snow has more than 100 fans guns cranking out snow and plans to open Friday for a one-day benefit for Hurricane Sandy / Mount Snow photo
New Hampshire's Cranmore kicked off snowmaking operations Sunday. The resort plans to to open on Friday, November 23 / Cranmore photo
Whiteface Mountain is making snow in preparation for opening day / Whiteface photo
Vermont's Okemo Mountain Resort plans to open on Thursday, Nov. 8 / Okemo photo