MONTPELIER, Vt. —Early-season snow and cold temperatures are helping New England ski resorts open early, carving out a blizzard of a start to the 2018-19 season.

Many hitting the slopes are finding great November conditions across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The early-season snow bounty is being combined with tens of millions of dollars in improvements at resorts across the three states that include new chair lifts, snow-making upgrades and more off-slope activities. And the storms have hit southern New England and the New York area, generating interest in winter sports from people who live far from the mountains.

Cold weather that allows snow-making machines to blanket the slopes, plus the natural snow brought by a series of early storms, combined to produce rarely seen mid-November conditions, Sarah Hyde of Wilmington, Vermont, said.

Hyde has been out on the slopes a half-dozen times already at southern Vermont’s Mount Snow, which had its earliest opening ever on Oct. 27.

“In the old days I would take a pair of rock skis out for early in the season because you’d rather see the sparks fly on something old rather than something new,” said Hyde, who added that she hasn’t seen any bare spots on the slopes thus far.


The snowfall in Maine threatened records for November in some parts of the state. Portland had received roughly 14.6 inches of snow after Tuesday’s storm and would need about another 6 inches before the end of the month to record the city’s 10th snowiest November.

Beth Ward, general manager of the Camden Snow Bowl, said the early snowfall had residents “chomping to ski.”

Ward said the combination of early snow, cold weather and a strong economy was a perfect recipe for a strong season. She said last year’s late spring snow also helped interest carry over.

“The snow that we are getting right now is the best marketing we could ask for,” Ward said. “It sells itself, really.”

The good economy also contributed to an increase in sales of gear in the offseason, said Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association.

“Ski swaps,” in which skiers buy, sell and trade gear before the season, were especially well-attended this year, he said.


“From Presque Isle to Kittery, these ski swaps had great enthusiasm this year,” Sweetser said. “People are feeling confident with the economy.”

On Saturday, there were 20 inches of snow at a measuring stake near the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest mountain, the most this early in the season since 2013. And last Friday, the day before the official opening of Vermont’s Sugarbush resort, season pass holders got an early shot at the trails.

“They hadn’t even groomed the main runs down the mountain at all,” said Adam White, a spokesman for the Vermont Ski Areas Association, which represents about 50 downhill and cross-country resorts across the state. “There was so much abundant fresh snow we were skiing powder.”

In northern Vermont, the Jay Peak ski resort is opening for the season Friday, but the resorts bookings for the season were given a huge boost by the late-season snowfalls last March that left skiers eager for more.

“The last impression has been the lasting impression,” said J.J. Toland, a spokesman for the Jay Peak ski area, which is opening for the season Friday.

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