Still no snow.

It’s hard to be anything but disappointed with the start of the season, which closes the calendar year with nearly no natural snow anywhere in New England. Maine’s resorts have made a valiant effort to cover their slopes with snow – thank heavens for good snowmaking technology – but there’s only so much that can be done when temperatures hover in the 40s and 50s. Insult is added to injury by the West Coast, where areas that saw no snow last year are now covered in the stuff.

Thankfully, the change in the calendar will let us give this snowless season the metaphorical boot. We have 2016 to look forward to, hopefully with a more cooperative Mother Nature.

Even if the slopes aren’t completely covered, there’s still lots of reason to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in ski country. It’s a chance to surround yourself with like-minded folks, most of whom will have resolutions that include something like “spend more time skiing.”

A number of our region’s larger ski areas are hosting parties. Here are some highlights:

 At Mt. Abram in Greenwood, the New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off at 9 p.m. with fireworks. But the party really starts at 10 with live music from Skosh. A $10 cover gets you into the 21-and-over celebration.

Sitting atop the newly remodeled base lodge at Shawnee Peak, Blizzard’s Pub is the place to ring in the new year in Bridgton. The popular pub will also feature live music from the Kennebunk River Band, which will play from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Sugarloaf is hosting two separate New Year’s Eve celebrations – one for the all-ages crowd and one for adults. The family-friendly affair kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the King Pine Room, featuring family activities and entertainment by Alex the Jester. A 9:15 fireworks display caps things off. The adult party – actually, a masquerade ball – begins soon after in the Widowmaker Lounge. Entertainment will be provided by Harsh Armadillo, a funk/jazz ensemble from Durham. Tickets to the all-ages event are $5 per person, and to the masquerade ball are $25 per person or $40 per couple.

Like its sister resort, Sunday River’s New Year’s Eve events come in family and adult flavors. Their “PG-13” party, taking place in the Mahoosuc room, promises to be a blast for families. G-Force Laser Tag, a photo booth, inflatable sumo wrestling, and “GaGa Ball” are among the many attractions. And adorably, the party (which starts at 6 p.m.) will wind down soon after celebrating the arrival of midnight in Iceland at 8. For adults, a 7 p.m. “blues and brews” dinner ($69 per person) at Sliders pairs Blue Point Brewery beer with music from the Eric Green Party. The annual Foggy Goggle Pre-Resolution Party is also planned to go forth as scheduled at South Ridge.

Across the Kancamagus Pass in New Hampshire, Loon Mountain is celebrating with a party in the Bunyan Room. The end-of-the-year edition of the “Legendary Nights” concert series will feature DJ That Ninjah, as well as a champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres. The cover charge for the 9 p.m. 21-and-over event is $25. And while nearby Cannon Mountain doesn’t have a big bash planned, it’s worth noting that on Jan. 1 lift tickets will be discounted to the “New Year Special” price of 2 for $75.

Whether or not you’re attending these parties, I’ll put in a plug to mark New Year’s Day on your calendar as a prime skiing day. When the bulk of the population stays up until after midnight celebrating, those champagne hangovers mean that the slopes can be relatively empty – especially early. If you’ve got the fortitude to get yourself up and moving early, you can claim a rare quiet midwinter Friday on the hill.

With all that said, I hope you’ll join me in leaving the snowless start of the season behind and looking forward to a white 2016. Resolve to ski more and complain less. With improvements across the board at Maine ski areas, a Farmers’ Almanac forecast calling for snow, and hopeful news that Saddleback will open in January, we have good reason to believe this season can turn itself around.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space in Outdoors with his father, John Christie. Josh can be contacted at:

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