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

Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Burke Mountain

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EAST BURKE, Vt. -

There's a good reason that the Hamerlas have been skiing Burke for more than 15 years.

"It's just very family friendly," said Sara Hamerla of Framingham, Mass. "Our kids are down in the ski lessons. They're having a great time. We know the quality of the instruction. Also, our son is named Oliver Burke. We named him after Burke Mountain."

That's something you don't hear every day. But what does happen at Burke each and every winter day is lots of skiing, with a local vibe.

"I like that it's local," said Ilana Abramson of Barnet. "There's not usually too many people here, which is good. And you always see someone you know when you're getting on the lift or going down the mountain."

Burke skis like two mountains in one due to its very unique layout. The upper part of the mountain is full of intermediate and advanced terrain, but the lower part of the mountain is all beginner terrain, and this makes for a much safer family ski experience.

Burke is now under new ownership, and positive changes are helping them cope with this season's variable weather.

"If we didn't have the new upgrades in our snowmaking system, we wouldn't have been able to recover so quickly and resurface our trails so quickly," said Hannah Collins of Burke Mountain.

Burke is currently skiing on about 75 percent of their terrain. Patrons tell us conditions are enjoyable right now.

"Today's fast. It's very smooth. No extra bumps or anything, no ice. It's really just comfortable skiing," Perry Hamerla said.

Rob and Laura Leaver of Boston said the snow was fast, smooth and a lot of fun. They also said there was plenty of it, so you can cut an edge fairly well.

Racers have been cutting edges at Burke for many years. Since its birth in 1970, Burke Mountain Academy has produced more than 50 Olympians. Mikaela Shiffrin is a 17-year-old senior at the Burke Mountain Academy. This season alone she's had three World Cup slalom victories. And last weekend she became the third youngest women's slalom world champion. She is setting an example for other racers with big dreams.

"If they pursue their dreams and passions with the same type of dedication, they could realize those as well," said Kirk Dwyer, the headmaster at Burke Mountain Academy.

Racers and recreational skiers alike can appreciate all that Burke has to offer.

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