A Windham County winter wonderland

Saturday February 9, 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-half and two feet of snow fell on southeastern Vermont overnight Friday and into Saturday morning.

The fluffy powder made for relatively easy work for snow plow operators who were out in full force Saturday, and snow sport enthusiasts who were 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 and wanted to wake up for the first powder runs of the day.

"The highest snow totals from snow storm 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 one minor accident on Middle Road in Dummerston. A few accidents were reported in Guilford and Whitingham, and a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Elliot Street in Brattleboro, Friday evening, as the storm began to ramp up. Officials did not have any more information to offer on these incidents Saturday morning.

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 of Feb. 16 and 17..

Gullotti said the snow this weekend should also add to the excitement leading up to next weekend's event as the 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 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.

Vermont was largely spared from widespread 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 on Saturday she urged residents to stay off of the roads to allow crews to maintain the highways.

"Though it may seem like the storm has eased in many areas, we will continue to see strong winds into the afternoon hours, leading to heavy drifting and dangerous driving conditions," Hassan said in a Saturday press release. "New Hampshire residents should continue to stay off of the roads if at all possible until mid afternoon today."

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."

You can reach Howard Weiss-Tisman at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311 ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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