Awakening to a snow covered Mad River Valley on the first day of Spring

On Tuesday afternoon, snow fell steadily over the covered bridge in Waitsfield Village, framing the Christmas wreath mounted above the entrance with white. But it wasn’t December—it was mid-March.

The town could have removed its holiday decorations a bit earlier, but the snowy scene still came as a surprise to many. After a thaw earlier this month that shut down several dirt roads due to impassable mud, it seemed as if winter was over, just like that. But starting in the evening on Monday, March 18, The Valley was hit by a spring storm that left behind over a foot of powder.

Clearing snow on the first day of Spring. Photo: Jeff Knight

Schools were closed on Tuesday and the roads were surprisingly empty, save for the roar of the state and local plow trucks as they made multiple passes trying to keep the roads clear as snow fell as fast as an inch per hour. Many cases of employees having powder fever were reported by local employers and Mad River Glen—which had temporarily closed its trails early last week in hopes of salvaging what was left of its snowpack—changed its spring lift hours from 9:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. when it realized how many skiers would be wanting fresh tracks before work.

Mad River Glen and Sugarbush’s summit chairs were on wind hold for most of Tuesday morning, but the delay boded well for Wednesday morning skiers, when all of the lifts were back up and running and the upper parts of the mountain remained largely untouched.

Mad River Glen reported 16 to 19 inches of snow between Monday night and Wednesday morning. Sugarbush reported 15 inches of powder from the storm.

Even though the sun came out, temperatures stayed below freezing on the first day of spring and The Valley’s extra dose of winter proved that groundhogs and global warming aren’t always in control.

Spring snow along the Common Road in Waitsfield, Vermont. Photo: Jeff Knight