Winter is coming

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MANCHESTER — The snow has begun to blow atop the Northshires ski mountains, with many opening for the winter season on Thanksgiving weekend.

Cold temperatures crept in over the mountain last week, paving the way for prime snowmaking conditions at Stratton, Bromley, and Magic.

"Last weeks very cold snap provided ideal snowmaking conditions," said Myra Foster of the Stratton Mountain Resort. "We're looking forward to opening on Wednesday, November 22 with top to bottom skiing on eleven trails; about 70 acres."

"We were able to take advantage of that first little window of cold temperatures, so we've got a good amount of snow put down on a few of the lower mountain trails," said Janessa Purney of Bromley Mountain, in Peru, which is slated to open on Nov. 24. "Currently, we've blown snow about halfway down."

Though Londonderry's Magic Mountain has not yet begun to blow snow, the ski mountain is well on its way after improvements to their system were approved by Vermont's Act 250 Commission in August.

"There's a lot going on right now, we're actually finishing up a bunch of Act 250 projects," said Geoff Hatheway, president of Ski Magic LLC., which owns and operates Magic Mountain. "We've got a new snowmaking pipe to make snowmaking more efficient, and we're also finishing up the installation of a new special area just for beginners."

Magic Mountain is slated to open for skiers on Dec. 16, but Hatheway hopes to open tubing trails for Thanksgiving weekend.

"We are going to start making snow on Sunday of this weekend, the 19th, I believe," he said. "We hope to open our tubing park on Friday the 24th for the holiday weekend; we'll be the only place that has tubing open."

For the resorts, snowmaking equipment can make all of the difference when it comes to maintaining trails in the midst of unpredictable weather conditions — like those often seen in Vermont.

"We have 40 new snow guns this year, and they're especially powerful when conditions are on the cusp which is great for the early season," Foster said, noting that Stratton currently has over 1,200 snow-guns in their arsenal in addition to 22 million gallons of water in reserve. "We were really able to show it off last week; the guns were roaring up top which is a sight to see."

"We've really revamped our snowmaking efforts," Hatheway said. "We'll be blowing more snow more efficiently than ever before on the mountain, which is a huge part of our upgrade process."

At Bromley, however, a larger focus has been placed on bolstering environmental efforts.

"We've been making strides toward sustainability at Bromley," Purney said, noting that composting will also be expanded at the mountain this year. "The number one part of our continuous efforts to keep green is snowmaking. Every year we see the addition of higher efficiency snow guns. This year we've added ten around the base area so far."

While snowmaking capabilities are integral to a successful season, this winter is shaping up to be snowy without technological assistance according to Foster.

"The forecasts are calling for snow, and we're off to a really good start," Foster said. "We're looking forward to a terrific, snowy winter."

"We're always a good place to hang, and I think this winter is going to be even better [than the last]," Hatheway said. "We're hoping everyone in the area has a great winter. We're looking forward to copious amounts of snow."

Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.

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