Warm temps delay ski area openings

Sugarloaf in Maine started snowmaking on Thursday. The resort had hoped to be open this weekend, but warm temperatures has pushed it back to later next week.

Looks like we have to wait a little while longer for more ski resorts to open for the season.

The reason? You guessed it. It’s been a little too warm to have non-stop snowmaking that will turn brown trails into white carpets.

But things are looking up for Thanksgiving weekend thanks to several days of good snowmaking weather.

Sugarloaf's snowmaking has begun.

There’s even a chance for some snow in northern New England on Turkey Day, but it’s too early to count on it.

Sunday River in Maine and Killington in Vermont are the only areas open in the East. Killington is adding more trails. It’s up to 10 now with some terrain open on Snowdon, accessed by the Poma lift. That’s good news because it should reduce the lift lines at the North Peak Quad.

But as skiers and snowboarders know about the weather, it’s always something. Killington had to delay its opening Saturday because of strong winds today, with gusts of up to 40 mph at the summit, steady between 15 and 25 mph (not good).

Other ski areas are waiting and taking advantage of cold nighttime temperatures to make snow.

Okemo has pushed back its opening until next weekend.

Okemo reports: “November, in all of its glory, has once again provided us with unseasonably warm weather, so it is safe to say that we will not be opening for skiing and riding this Saturday, November 20th. However, it appears as though we will be blessed with some snowmaking temperatures heading into the weekend. We are planning to be open for skiing and riding as soon as possible as we get closer to Thanksgiving and will have a better idea of an opening date once we get the guns going. ”

Sugarbush in Vermont has also pushed back its opening. In its report today:

“In an industry that relies a great deal on the weather, you learn to take the bad with the good. At this point, it’s fair to say that we will not hit our November 20th Opening Day target due to the lack of consistent snowmaking temps over the last ten days. The good news is we seem to have passed a pivot point. Snowmaking began on Jester around 11:00 PM Wednesday night and will be going strong into the forseeable future. So what’s this mean? We’re gunning for a Thanksgiving opening day.

“The next couple of days have the potential for some natural snow as well—make sure to stay tuned here or to the Sugarbush Snow Phone (802.583.SNOW) for any updates, and keep doing those snow dances.”

And it’s the same story in Stowe that had hoped to open Saturday. Now it’s delayed to next Wednesday, Nov. 24.

The only areas now open inNew England are Killington in Vermont with nine trails and Sunday River in Maine with one. Sunday River reports a dusting of snow overnight. Picture left was shot this morning.

In New Hampshire, Loon Mountain’s kickoff has also been delayed.

“The 2010/11 winter season is right around the corner, despite mild weather so far this week,” Loon reports. “The forecast for snomaking has been steadily improving and our snowmaking team is ready to fire up as soon as they get temperatures tomorrow night. Snowmaking will continue through the weekend and we will open as soon as we can next week.”

Jim Shay