The Roller Coaster Returns
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Written by Win Smith
February 28th was my 88th day on skis. 79 of those days were here while the others were at Banff, Lake Louise, Alta, Snowbird and Mt. Snow. As you all know this has been a roller coaster of a year, but it proves the old adage that “There is never a bad day of skiing, just bad equipment.” The cold weather we experienced in early December and January was certainly a mixed blessing. It did allow us to make more snow earlier than we ever had while using less energy and the snow stayed dry with the cold. In my opinion, we had some of the best early season conditions I can remember and were 100% open by the Christmas Holidays. However, the cold was bitter and a lot of people chose not to ski for many days. I brought out my face mask and, making sure no skin was exposed, got out every day for at least several runs. It was worth it.
After the January cold we experienced an unusually warm February. We saw more rain and less snow than is typical for February, and we once again experienced a major warm-up in the third week. If you can recall, a similar thing happened last year before Winter Storm Stella delivered us three feet of fresh powder in Mid-March and gave us some terrific spring skiing. This week has felt more like late March than late February, but the skiing and riding has been really nice. Our groomers have been able to move around all that snow we made and a couple of inches of natural snow mixed in well to provide excellent snow surfaces.
With only 100” of natural snow this season to date, we are well behind our normal snowfall, but history shows that things often end up averaging out. It looks like a pattern change in the weather next week could allow us to end March with more total snow depth than it began with. March has come in like a lamb, but we’re hoping it goes out like a lion. We may get a taste of what’s to come Thursday night and Friday as a coastal storm approaches. It is looking like we may see some net gain up here and the outlook for next week is looking more March-like. Fingers crossed!
Our Early Spring Pass campaign will launch on March 16th. In the meantime existing passholders have a special opportunity to renew ahead of time. We are also delighted to be part of the Mountain Collective again next season and pleased to see that Big Sky has been added to the portfolio of mountains, replacing Telluride. All Sugarbush Premium passholders are entitled at no extra cost to 50% off the ticket price at any other Mountain Collective mountain. I know that many of our passholders have taken advantage of this as well. As was previously announced, we also joined onto the Ikon Pass for this season, allowing those passholders to ski here for 5 or 7 days based on which pass they select.
But back to skiing. Welcome to March. This is one of my favorite months of the season. With the sun getting higher in the sky and the days longer, this is usually the best time of the year for soft turns on the slopes and great après on the decks and courtyard afterwards. Luckily it looks like your snow dances may be working. OK, it’s not a full force Nor’Easter here at Sugarbush, but it is snowing this morning. The ground is white and we are expecting up to 3” of fresh snow - a Nor’Incher. Even that amount of snow on top of our snowmaking trails today and then groomed in tonight will make for some sweet turns.
The mid-range forecast over the next week is also looking better with the possibility of additional snow midweek. I am shooting for at least 130 ski days myself, including a trip with my granddaughter to Aspen in late March for her thirteenth birthday present. We are looking forward to skiing another Mountain Collective mountain, and of course it usually snows here when I leave.