Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Okemo - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Okemo

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Chances are that your backyard doesn't have a lot of snow right now. But it's a different story at Okemo. In recent weeks chilly temperatures have promoted significant snowmaking; already Okemo has opened at least 15 trails.

"We opened on November 8th, which was the fourth earliest opening for Okemo. So that bodes well and it's been a pretty robust start," said Ted Austin, the vice president of marketing and sales at Okemo.

Okemo has nearly 1,200 snowmaking guns, and can cover a trail in a mere 24 hours.

Even though it's early in the season, skiers and riders are enjoying some surprisingly good conditions.

"Depending upon what trails it's on there's a little bit of corduroy, so it's some nice stuff. It's a little bit frozen and crusty, but it's really good," skier Russ Gerstacker said.

"It's not super choppy like a lot of manmade snow that you find. They've done a really good job grooming out here. So it feels like natural stuff which is nice," skier John Hunnewell said.

The high snow quality can be attributed to Okemo's attention to detail.

"It's unbelievable the science that Okemo puts into their snowmaking. It's an art form that they do here. I've been to other mountains and it's really great, the quality of the snow they put out is amazing," skier Tom Boyle said.

Last winter wasn't exactly a banner year for skiers and riders. But this season, winter-enthusiasts are feeling optimistic; they are ready to put last winter behind them.

"Oh, way behind," skier Linda Seader said. "I don't remember last season."

"What season?" skier Dana Dolloff joked. "Last season was bad, but we'll make up for it this year."

As natural snow becomes likely in the coming weeks, conditions should get even better. In the meantime, quality manmade snow and positive attitudes are creating lots of smiles on the slopes at Okemo.

Okemo will be hosting numerous events this winter season. Dec. 15 the annual Cares and Shares Food Drive will take place. If you bring in at least five nonperishable food items, a new children's toy, or new clothing item you will be awarded a discounted ticket for that day.

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