By Rachel Goff
In the past week, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush have picked up over a foot and a half of snow, adding to an already deep base layer. So far this season, Mad River Glen put its total snowfall at 150 to 157 inches and Sugarbush said it's received 170 inches of white stuff.
Meanwhile out West, ski resorts are closing due to a lack of snow.
As of this past week, four ski resorts in California and two in Oregon had suspended their operations as a result of the region's ongoing drought. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, temperatures were "well above normal" in the West for the week of February 3, with Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada experiencing temperatures 9 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for that same time period, causing precipitation to fall in the form of rain – even at higher elevations.
In the Northeast, however, temperatures for the week of February 3 were 6 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit below normal, resulting not only in snow but in the fluffy, dry powder that's normally waist deep at Western resorts.
"Conditions are phenomenal," Sugarbush vice president of marketing Candice White said of the skiing terrain these past few weeks. Sugarbush president Win Smith and vice president of mountain operations John Hammond were in Colorado recently, White said, "and it's not great out West. The East really has the best conditions in the country right now."
"The fact of the matter is that it doesn't get much better than this," the Mad River Glen snow report said this week. Currently, 100 percent of the ski-it-if-you-can mountain's trails are open, and the white stuff in the woods is deep.
The only drawback to the recent weather, according to White, "is that it's been so cold," she said. While single-digit temperatures preserve the snow, skiers – especially those not used to Vermont climates – are not always prepared for them.
Fortunately, "There's no bad weather, just bad gear," White said. "You have to know how to dress for it," she said, and Sugarbush hopes to educate skiers on the right fabrics and layers for below-freezing conditions.
Coming into the first weekend of February vacation, Mad River Glen expects to be running all of its lifts, as does Sugarbush (with the exception of the Slide Brook Express, which will only run if it's 5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher).
"If you can get to the mountain, you can ski it," the Mad River Glen snow report said. "And the time to do so is now."