A man shovels the steps of the Centre Congregational Church in downtown Brattleboro, Saturday afternoon. (Tom D’Errico/Reformer)
A man shovels the steps of the Centre Congregational Church in downtown Brattleboro, Saturday afternoon. (Tom D'Errico/Reformer)
Monday February 11, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- While Massachusetts was contending with the effects of an historic blizzard, and New Hampshire extended its state of emergency into Saturday, Windham County residents seemed to be shrugging off Friday's snowfall and embracing the first major snowfall in at least two years.

Between a foot and a foot-and-a-half of snow fell on southeastern Vermont.

The fluffy powder made for relatively easy work for snow plow operators and snow sport enthusiasts were out early enjoying the weekend snow.

Mount Snow Communications Director David Meeker said the West Dover resort measured 17 inches of fresh powder and the parking lots were packed Friday night with skiers and riders who beat the storm.

"The highest snow totals from snowstorm Nemo may be in places where it is not necessarily welcome, but Mount Snow Resort in southern Vermont woke up to 15 to 17 inches of new snow and welcomed it with open arms," Meeker said.

Anticipation of the monster storm seemed to keep people off the roads.

The Vermont State Police reported only minor accidents over the weekend.

On Sunday Vermont sent equipment and workers to Massachusetts to help with the storm recovery. Agency of Transportation staff, as well as some members of the Vermont State Police, traveled south on Sunday to assist.

The U.S. Postal Service gave customers a preview of the recently announced suspension of Saturday service by canceling home delivery on Saturday.

And Portland, Maine recorded more than 29 inches from Friday's storm, breaking the single storm record of 27.1 inches from 1979.

The 2013 Harris Hill Ski Jump is scheduled for next weekend, and after a few years of disappointing natural snow cover, Melissa Gullotti, communications director for the Harris Hill Ski Jump, said the Friday night snowfall was welcomed, and perfectly timed.

"This is great. We've been making snow for the past week, so we were prepared, but this adds to making sure we are prepared for the event," Gullotti said. "We're just glad it didn't happen next week."

Event organizers are preparing for Brattleboro's annual International Ski Federation sanctioned event, which brings some of the best ski jumpers from all over the world to southern Vermont for the weekend.

Gullotti said the snow this weekend should also add to the excitement leading up to next weekend's event as the monster storm that dumped snow across New England will have snow lovers embracing the season.

"It's similar to the backyard syndrome. When people see snow in their yard they think more about winter," Gullotti said.

Jason Evans, who is Chief of the Hill for the Harris Hill Ski Jump, said his crews have to make snow regardless of what Mother Nature provides, and they were already getting the jump ready for next weekend.

Still, piles of fresh snow should add to the overall enthusiasm for the jump next weekend.

"It makes everything look better," he said. "And now the spectators have some good deep snow they can lodge into when they watch. It's definitely good to have it"

A state of emergency in Massachusetts was extended into Saturday and hundreds of thousands of people were without power through the weekend.

Vermont was largely spared from wide-spread power outages, with Green Mountain Power reporting only a handful of outages in Bennington County Saturday morning.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan also issued a state of emergency Friday and again on Saturday she urged residents to stay off of the roads to allow crews to maintain the highways.

At the Reformer offices, 19 inches of snow was recorded Saturday morning, as the storm began to let up. Readers, via Facebook, offered snow measurements from their homes around Windham County: 13 inches on the Jamaica/South Londonderry line; about 14 inches in the Brattleboro/Chesterfield area; 15-and-a-half inches in Townshend; 18 inches in Vernon; 12 to 14 inches in Chester; 15 inches in Putney; 15 inches in West Dummerston; 15 inches on Sunset Lake Road in Brattleboro.

But perhaps the best measurement of the morning came from Sarah Shippee: "More than a beagle's worth in West Dover."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.