Warren, Vermont - January 25, 2012
The battle for snow rages on in what has been a reluctant winter season.
"It's been a slow build up," said Patrick Brown of the Sugarbush Resort. "The snow makers have just been trying to get the base built up, so when the natural snow comes, it's icing on the cake."
A snowstorm in advance of the Martin Luther King holiday allowed Sugarbush to open all trails for the first time this year. Resort officials say that even in a difficult season so far, the skiers and riders are still coming out.
"We've found that we are about 5 to 7 percent down from last year, but last we had record snowfall and record skier visits, so we're really happy with the turnout this year given the conditions we've been facing," Brown said.
"Last year was a banner year, this year is much more dicey but good things are ahead," skier Bill Carroll said.
We've seen some light accumulations of snow in the past week, along with a little sleet, freezing rain and even some plain old rain. Trail conditions on the hill remain variable-- awfully similar to the weather we've experienced here in the Northeast so far this season.
"This winter is weird with the warm weather, then it's cold, then it's warm," snowboarder Lily Schoville said.
With below average snowfall in both December and January, the optimists are hoping that the best snow this season is still to come.
"Our experience over the past 10 years is that the big months are February and March. That's when we get most of the snow up here and if we're going to get powder days, that's the time," skier Joe Morrissey said.
"I'm more than hoping, I'm expecting that we'll see a good storm or two in February and March," Carroll said.
We've spent the entire winter on the wrong side of the snowfall average so far. With the second half of the season still to go, the best turns may still be out there.
"We've had fantastic years and we've had other years, but just coming up and being able to ski-- you can't complain," Morrissey said.
A day spent on the slopes is better than most.
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