Area ski resorts report strong season
Significant snowfall in November ushered in a strong ski season in Southern Vermont, though snow totals were less than last season's.
Bromley Mountain Ski Resort, in Peru, and Magic Mountain Ski Area, in Londonderry, reported a rise in skier visits compared to the 2017-18 season. They closed April 7.
Bromley received 176 inches of snow throughout the season — 44 inches fewer than the previous one — but it was high-quality snow, said resort spokeswoman Savannah Strom. The place also saw "excellent weather" during the normally busy holidays.
"We had stronger holiday periods this season than last season," she said.
The resort saw its busiest day on Feb. 17, a Sunday and the day before President's Day.
Magic Mountain also welcomed a big crowd that day, but its busiest day was Jan. 20, when a storm dropped 19 inches of snow, said company president Geoff Hatheway.
The ski area, which was on its third season under new ownership, saw 12 percent visitor growth over the previous season and 30 percent more season pass holders despite some unfavorable weather conditions.
Magic Mountain saw 138 inches of snow — 40 inches fewer than the previous one — and more rain, which Hatheway said adversely affected their Christmas week.
There were also less than typical "powder days" in February and March, days following snowfalls when ski areas are covered in light, fluffy, deep snow idea for skiing.
"Despite all that, we had good conditions and a good amount of terrain open for most of the season," Hatheway said. "We are very happy with our continued growth and improvements despite the challenging weather pattern this winter for southern Vermont."
Stratton Mountain Resort said the amount and quality of snow plus the good weather, created a "great year" for skiers and riders.
"We kicked off the season with a great snowstorm that really started the winter on a high note," resort spokeswoman Alexandra Malloy said, referring to a Nov. 27-28 storm that brought 2 feet of snow. Stratton Mountain got 137 inches total snowfall versus the previous season's 174 inches.
Stratton declined to provide comparative information on skier visits, and all the three ski areas said exact visitor numbers were confidential.
Mount Snow in Dover reported 127 inches of total snowfall compared to 156 inches the previous season.
The snowmaking capability of the resorts also helped them recover after unfavorable weather such as rain, maintain ideal skiing surfaces and stay open until early spring.
Special events apparently also helped draw visitors.
Bromley Mountain, for instance, celebrated Skiing History Day in March. The daylong activities included a parade of vintage ski wear, a presentation on the resort's 80-year history and an exhibition of vintage ski equipment.
Some weekends, the resort held s'more campfires for families to enjoy after a day of skiing.
Stratton Mountain marked the end of its season April 14 with Sugar & Strings, a collaboration with WinterWonderGrass music festival. The free outdoor concert featured bluegrass music, as well as food and drinks.
In January, Stratton Mountain debuted its Snow Bowl Express high-speed quad, the highlight of its $10 million capital investment for the season. The new lift, Malloy said, is positioned to reduce wind impact, includes a parking rail that minimizes overnight icing on chairs and has shortened ride time from 14 to 5 minutes.
Also, the new lift shacks have been crafted of locally sourced wood "for a classic Vermont vibe," Malloy said.
Ski machinery and equipment have also brought their share of hurdles.
One of Magic Mountain's two summit lifts wasn't put into use last season because it wouldn't run at full speed, Hatheway said. The lift is scheduled to be replaced this summer.
That meant lift lines were longer than normal during peak days, but the replacement is expected to bring a 50 percent increase in uphill capacity next season, Hatheway said.
At Bromley, challenges included the shortening of school breaks and the shortage of local staff.
Tiffany Tan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @tiffgtan at Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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