GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 2, 2013

Outdoors: Skiing is great!

Outdoors
Dave Sartwell

---- — All around New England the skiing is great for this time of year. The snowfall has varied depending on location as the big storm swept through, but all northern resorts are open on a great deal of new powder snow. Given the disaster of last year, everyone was hoping for a good season but no one was predicting the amount of snow that has already fallen.

For example, Stowe in Vermont has received over 100 inches of snow so far this year with over 60 inches in the last 15 days with new light powder falling as I write this column. And, because the temperature is right, they are making snow as fast as they can to build the base. They have 106 trails and five terrain parks open. There is 45 inches of snow at the Mt. Mansfield stake.

Jay Peak has received over 7 inches in the past 48 hours. 49 inches of new snow in the past week, and a season total so far of 109 inches! All 9 lifts are open with 74 of 78 trails available.

Cranmore got a whopping twenty inches in the big fall and then a bit more this past couple of days for a total of 29 inches so far. They are making snow and expect most of their trails to be open on Wednesday. They have 7 lifts running. The big news at Cranmore is the new lift.

Last spring, Cranmore removed its historic East Double Chairlift, which was installed in 1957 and serviced 6 trails on the east side of the mountain. Named in honor of Herbert Schneider who passed away in June 2012, the new Schneider Triple chairlift will increase the uphill lift capacity and additional vertical to the southern slopes of the resort. It will also give skiers a third summit access lift. This new lift represents a $1M investment.

“This new lift is not just a replacement of the old East Double Chair, which served only a handful of trails. We have relocated the lift line to the south so that it services a whole new area of skiing on 11 trails. It adds 300 feet of vertical when you compare the old lift to the new lift. The Schneider Triple will give skiers easier access to Cranmore’s best advanced terrain including Ledges and Koessler, plus intermediate favorites like Artist Falls,” stated Cranmore GM and President, Ben Wilcox.

Gunstock, one of mt favorite small mountains, has a base depth of 21-37 inches on their 30 trails. I love to ski here because they offer night skiing on 12 of their trails using 5 different lifts. Just while other folks are headed home, I can blast around the mountain until late into the evening! They also have a Big Air Bag where you can practice your jumps and tricks.

Over in Maine the skiing is great when the wind isn’t blowing too hard. Sugarloaf had the upper lifts closed for a while because of it on Monday, but they are skiing on more than 4 1/2 feet of snow that has fallen in just the past two weeks. They have 143 trails an glades open being serviced by 14 lifts.

Sunday River has had 17 inches of new snow in the past three days with an average trail base of over 30 inches. For this time of year that is terrific. As with the other Maine mountains, the wind has become a factor. You will want to check the daily information to fin out what lifts are open. As of this report they were skiing on 120 trails with 10 lifts open.

Saddleback, up near Rangely, has received 21 inches of snow in the last seven days and over 70 inches of snow so far this year. Their 2,000 foot vertical allows them to have some really nice runs. They will have 65 trails open serviced by 5 lifts this week, with a packed powder surface.

The weather could bring in some pretty cold and windy conditions this week, but if you bundle up you will be fine. These low temperatures will allow the mountains to really pile up the man made snow on high traffic areas.

The nordic areas are also in full gear. It has taken them a while to get all of the trails groomed, but this new year will open with a really nice base to glide on. For full information on your favorite area go to the web and call up the New England Nordic Ski Association.

N. H. Learn to Ski

& Snowboard Free Week

Do you have friends & family members who would love skiing or snowboarding - but just haven’t tried it yet? Some ski areas in New Hampshire are offering a free lesson and equipment deal from January 12-18, 2013 and it’s the ideal opportunity to try the sport we love, at no cost!

First-time downhill skiers & snowboarders receive a free learn to ski or snowboard lesson, free equipment rentals and a free beginner terrain lift ticket. First-time cross country skiers receive a free learn to ski lesson, free equipment rentals, and a free trail pass. Participants must register with SkiNH to download a Learn to Ski & Ride Free coupon, then make a reservation with one of the participating resorts. Registration begins on January 2nd, 2013.

For full details get on the web and go to the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Free Week page at SKiNH.com. The skiing conditions are terrific already this year. If the cold weather holds, all of the areas will be pumping out snow to build the base that is already there. January looks to be the best it has been in a while. So, get out the skis and head to the slopes!