Big Snow Brings Record Early Season for Vermont Ski Resorts

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December snowfall combined with upgraded snowmaking systems have set up Vermont ski and snowboard resorts with stellar early season conditions.

December snow at Jay Peak, Vermont elates skiers and riders

We’re looking at having nearly 80% of Vermont’s epic terrain open to the public this weekend - that’s three times more than usual for this time of year, and easily one of the best early seasons in Vermont’s history.

Vermont ski and snowboard resorts are dropping ropes and taking reservations this December at a record pace thanks to a blessing from Mother Nature and upgraded snowmaking systems. With over two feet of new snow covering some of Vermont’s resorts and more snow on the way, Vermont is open and ready for another epic season of skiing and riding, and the holiday season is expected to be one of the best ever.

“Snow like this is like a gift to skiers and riders and Vermont’s ski industry,” said Ski Vermont’s Director of Public Affairs, Sarah Wojcik. “We’re looking at having nearly 80% of Vermont’s epic terrain open to the public this weekend - that’s three times more than usual for this time of year, and easily one of the best early seasons in Vermont’s history.”

Two resorts opened earlier than expected due to massive snowfall covering their slopes. Mad River Glen has 100% of the main mountain open on Friday, December 12th and is boasting up to 30 inches of base with fresh powder on top. Bolton Valley opened a day early to give customers a chance to shred the 20” of new snow that has fallen over the last 48 hours.

As snow started to accumulate on Tuesday morning, Jay Peak Resort’s phones were ringing off the hook. “We took 134 reservations in just under two hours this morning. A Jay Peak record,” said JJ Toland, Jay Peak’s Director of Communication and Events. “You can fire your Marketing team when Nor’easters prowl around your mountain.”

As Sugarbush, Thursday marked a near historic opening of the Castlerock double chair, which accesses some of its most extreme terrain, has zero snowmaking, and is boasting one of the best snowpacks to date. They are already counting 68 inches of snow fallen this season and expect to be 100% open at Lincoln Peak over the weekend.

Okemo Mountain Resort has dropped 108 ropes this season, meaning 90% of the terrain is open and ready for the influx of visitors to their Jackson Gore hotel. Reservations soared to over 80% this week due to the storm. “This is the most terrain we’ve ever had open this early in the season,” said Okemo Owner Tim Mueller. “EVER!”

At Stratton ninety percent of the main face is open and Mount snow has nearly doubled the number of trails open since Monday. Both are citing natural snowfall combined with strong snowmaking efforts that will continue through December.

“Smugglers' received 21" of snow in the last 5 days, bringing the season total to more than 60 inches, with more still expected into Friday," said Public Relations Director, Karen Boushie. “We anticipate opening terrain on Madonna Mountain for the weekend, to add to the intermediate terrain already open on Sterling and beginner terrain on Morse. Our weekend visitors can expect terrain for all abilities with a mix of groomed and natural conditions, a trail count in the mid-40s, and top to bottom skiing and riding on all three mountains.”

Q Burke Mountain Resort is opening Saturday December 13th, along with Pico Mountain at Killington. The Beast of the East, Killington Resort, was earliest to open this season and boasts 82 trails open as of Friday, December 12, 2014. Trapp Family Lodge will also have 100% of their cross country ski terrain open for recreation this weekend.

To keep track of Vermont ski and ride conditions, deals, events, and more, visit skivermont.com and visit our Facebook page for great photos of the December snow.

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Sarah Wojcik
Ski Vermont
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