Who’s still skiing and snowboarding in New England? Mostly those with season passes, locals, college kids looking for some fun on spring break or strong-legged baby boomers who have second homes in Ski Country.
But for most of us the season is over. The end came earlier than normal when the snow stopped falling and temperatures soared into the 60s, then 70s and likely today, the 80s.
The scene near the summit of Mount Snow in Vermont. No wonder they are planning to end its season on Sunday.
I expect this weekend will be the last for many ski areas this season. By mid-April, all lifts should stop turning everywhere.
Mount Snow in southern Vermont has already decided to pack it in on Sunday. “As you can imagine, snow does not react well to temperatures in the 60′s and 70′s, and that’s exactly what Mother Nature threw our way this week,” Snow posted this morning.
Okemo in Vermont also announced today that its final day of the season will also be Sunday.
“As the warm weather is making the days enjoyable, it is also melting away the snow that our snowmakers worked so hard to make all season. While we gave a gallant fight, the warming sun has been too much – so get on up here and enjoy your last turns while you can,” Okemo posted on Facebook today.
While there is still some good skiing and snowboarding, usually in the early morning and on high-elevation trails, conditions … for most people … are difficult.
Like many areas, Okemo is encouraging people to bring the sunscreen and “work on your goggle tan.”
The southern Vermont area gets the prize for the best take on the day: ”The best part of spring is the music you can hear in the air, as the sun rises each morning, and the days get longer, the birds return and their songs fill the world with joy.”
But what about the snow conditions at the areas still open???
Finishing a run down Superstar at Killington on Wednesday. Killington's average snowfall is 250 inches. This year it received only 130 inches.
Read Stratton in Vermont’s “snow report” for today:
“Our terrain is challenging, bumpy and absurdly fun these days, and spring conditions mean that bare spots, puddles and other unmarked hazards exist on open terrain. There is fun to be had out there, so bring your rock skis or boards and be ready to hop, skip, and walk to get to that spectacular soft spring snow.”
“Conditions are rapidly changing each day and some walking is required to get to the hidden gems of soft snow.”
And Bolton Valley‘s report, also from Vermont:
“The good news: today has the potential to be the warmest day of the year thus far, which means T-shirts and sunglasses are skiing and riding essentials. The not-so-good news: that sun is quickly melting the snow pack, causing the rest of our days to be numbered. Solution: The beach will be there for the rest of the summer, so you might as well get your last turns of the season in, before you have to wait until next year.”
Vermont still has lots of trails open, but the number is dropping daily.
Even the mighty Beast of the East, Killington, sees its days are numbered. Today, it has a mere 14 trails open.
On its Facebook page this afternoon, Killington posted: “We lost more snow than we expected last night and have closed the K-1 Gondola and Snowdon Triple.”
It makes me sad to read this report:
“Walking is required to ski or ride Outer Limits and there is no beginner terrain available. Additionally spring conditions exist, they can change rapidly and create unpredictable surfaces, so please pay close attention when you’re out on the trails and check back often for updates.
“We will be spinning the Bear Mountain Quad and Superstar Express Quad. Please note the unseasonably warm temperatures this week have caused our snow pack to melt faster than we hoped and although we’re skiing and riding down two peaks, they are both isolated. So, if you’re interested in skiing or riding on the isle of Bear Mountain and you want to return to K-1, simply hop on a shuttle – they’ll be going back and forth from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.”
In New Hampshire about 10 areas remain open with about a quarter of their trails open.
Personally, I think spring skiing is overrated. I’ll take a cold day with some powder or packed powder over a warm and slushy one with spring crud. I’d rather be cruising than getting grabbed by some slushy puddle.
Add the unadvertised fact: Many ski areas do not groom many trails so they can preserve the snow for the larger weekend crowds. Groomed trails lose their snow quicker.
Today if you want to go skiing and snowboarding in the East, you have to make a long drive. And with the high cost of gas, you have to ask yourself: Is it worth it?