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Winter Enthusiasts Welcome New Snow

View of Adirondacks from Lake Placid
Pat Bradley/WAMC
view of Adirondacks in winter from Lake Placid

The storm that drifted through the region Tuesday night and Wednesday morning left behind about a foot of snow and came just before one of the key holiday weekends of the winter season.
Mad River Glenn in Waitsfield, Vermont is one of the smaller ski areas in Vermont and relies on natural snow for its alpine trails.  Marketing Director Eric Friedman reported that their parking lot was full Wednesday as skiers with an unexpected day off headed to the slopes. He’s optimistic that means the nearly foot of snow that fell overnight will be a huge factor going into the Presidents Day weekend.  “Getting good snow during a holiday period is vitally important because the holiday periods, you know Christmas week, Martin Luther King weekend, Presidents’ week, are our bread and butter and if we can hit those it really makes a huge financial difference for us. So we’re just could not be more pleased with the timing of this.”

About 30 miles south in Ripton, Michael Hussey manages the Rikert Nordic Center and the Middlebury College Snow Bowl – an alpine and snowboarding center.  “At Rikert we get to open up some trails that were not very skiable after the thaw-freeze cycle that we just went through. At the Snow Bowl we have beautiful skiing and we do have Friday and Saturday the 96th running of the Middlebury Carnival. So we have big races at both places. So the snow is really helpful certainly at Rikert for that. The surface at the Snow Bowl you know you’d think the soft snow would be great but alpine racing wants a good hard surface. So we’ll probably end up plowing the snow off of the two race trails getting back down to the hard surface. Which sounds crazy I know but that’s what (laughs) we have to do to make it good safe racing.”

To the west and across Lake Champlain the Adirondacks also saw significant new snowfall. Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President James McKenna says on Tuesday the tourist center sent out alerts to more than 150,000 digital subscribers about the incoming snowstorm, identifying winter activities in the Adirondacks.  “Snowmobiling, snowshoeing that’s taken off over the last few years, tobogganing and sledding. You know many people have never seen a toboggan chute before. And just looking at the fat tire bikes I mean a lot of the trails in the area now are fat bike tire friendly. That particular activity it allows our bike shops to operate almost year-round now. You know micro-spiking and many many types of new activities. Those different types of winter sports activities that’s really what separates our region from some of the traditional ski resort areas.”

The Christmas and Presidents Day weekends are considered key winter holidays. McKenna says it is too early for solid data but anecdotal observations indicate it has been a good winter season for sports, tourism and business.

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