Mother Nature Hands Out Snow

The Halloween weekend saw a flurry of ski area opening activities as the result of a Nor’Easter making its way up the Atlantic Coast.

In Quebec, Mont Saint-Sauveur reported being the first ski area to fire up its snow guns and on the left coast, a winter storm sweeping through the Sierra Nevada dropped 10 inches of fresh on California’s Alpine Meadows’ upper mountain and six inches at Squaw Valley. The snow comes less than a month before Squaw Valley’s scheduled opening date of Wednesday, Nov. 26. Alpine Meadows is scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 12.

On Sunday, North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain realized the second earliest opening in its 38-year history, thanks to an arctic blast that dropped eight to 10 inches of natural snow on the mountain. Skiers and riders were greeted with a 10- to 30-inch base and $35 adult full day lift tickets and $30 for juniors.

Over in Maggie Valley, Cataloochee Ski Area celebrated its third earliest opening and its 54th season of skiing and riding. Guests were treated to three slopes serviced by two aerial lifts and an 8- to 14-inch base.

Cataloochee reported up to five inches of natural snow from the storm. Sunday lift tickets were $35 for adults and $30 for juniors. A drawing for a free midweek season pass was also held among opening day lift ticket purchasers.

Further North, West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain received more than four inches and put some muscle behind the cold temps by cranking up its snowmaking system. The area aims to open Nov. 26.

In Wisconsin, Trollhaugen opened for the weekend with one chairlift and a rope tow servicing an 18-inch base. Ten features were open in the terrain park and early season lift tickets are $20.

At press time, Maine’s Sunday River was set to tease its loyal skiers and riders with a 1-day opening of its Locke Mountain Triple chair at 9.m. on Nov. 3. The chair accesses advanced terrain on the upper mountain. The area plans to suspend operations until the following weekend.

In Vermont, Killington Resort also took a “private screening” approach reserving its Nov. 3 opening to season pass and Express Card holders. The area opens to the general public on Tuesday and resort officials say they “expect to remain open daily for the duration of the ‘Longest Season in the East’ as conditions permit.”

Over in Ludlow, Bonnie MacPherson, public relations director for Okemo Mountain Resort, says snowmakers there never noticed Daylight Saving Time because they were too busy making snow. Okemo was able to compliment a natural dusting with the additional 100 snowmaking tower guns it added to its arsenal this season. This follows a $1 million investment in its snowmaking system last year.

Finally, three inches of fresh snow fell at Northstar California Resort, and steady temperatures in the low 20s allowed the snowmaking team to fire up the area’s snowmaking system.