Northeastern ski areas revel in a rarity _ powder

AP News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2016 10:03 AM
Northeastern ski areas revel in a rarity _ powder

FAYSTON, Vt. (AP) — Northeastern ski areas are reveling in a rarity — powder — after a nor'easter dumped 2 feet of snow in parts of Maine and lesser amounts in Vermont and New Hampshire following a dismal season last winter with little snow.

Maine's Sunday River reported more than 20 inches of new snow on Friday.

"Conditions today are incredible, and our ski patrol can barely keep up with the amount of terrain we're able to open as a result of all of this new snow," Sunday River spokeswoman Darcy Lambert said Friday.

The resort had 111 out of 135 trails open, more than double the amount open at this time last year. By Friday, it had also surpassed the total amount of snow — 60 inches — it received all last winter.

But the storm didn't drop as much as some Vermont resorts had hoped.

Still, 6 to 8 inches of new cover brought out a big crowd of skiers at Mad River Glen in Fayston, which has limited snowmaking and was too bare to open at this time last year. The parking lot was packed by 9 a.m. Friday, said Meg Hourihan, interim general manager.

"We missed the whole holiday week last year, so this is just fantastic," she said. "Pretty much everyone is like, 'I can't remember seeing it this busy. I don't remember seeing the lines like this.'"

Last winter was the second least snowiest in Burlington, Vermont, based on records going back to the early 1900s, according to the National Weather Service.

The current conditions are night and day from last year, said Greg Kwasnik, spokesman for Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, which had 54 of 61 trails open Friday, compared with just 17 trails last year at this time.

"We should have some really strong attendance," he said.