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Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Middlebury College Snow Bowl - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Middlebury College Snow Bowl

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -

With only 17 trails, Middlebury College Snow Bowl isn't a large ski area. But we're told that's part of its charm.

"I love it because people are so friendly. It's like a small town place rather than a huge area where it's more impersonal," said Bob Carlson of Danielson, Conn.

"It's a nice little area. It's a beautiful ambiance. It's not a bunch of tourists and elbows and lift lines. And the terrain is really nice and it's interesting and they maintain it well," said John Carlson of Middlebury.

What the mountain lacks in size, it makes up for with its unique past. Middlebury Snow Bowl is steeped in history. In fact, it's the third oldest ski area in Vermont. And the fireplace was actually outdoors until 1962 when the modern lodge was built. Another interesting feature is the Dick Hubbard Cabin, built in the mid-1930s; it was recently brought back to life.

"A few years ago our ski club, our junior ski club, decided to do some renovations and try to bring the warming hut to a standard where they could use it," said Peter Mackey of Middlebury College Snow Bowl.

This makes the Dick Hubbard Cabin the oldest base lodge still in use in North America.

Once you head from the lodge to the slopes, there's lots of fresh snow. Skiers are floating through the powdery snow surfaces.

"It's a little choppy now, but this morning it was nice and light. It's cold enough to stay, float. It's not quite champagne, but it's fun," said Benjamin Adams of Salisbury.

Just down the road from Middlebury College Snow Bowl is Rikert Nordic Center, which is also owned by the college. Some cross-country skiers are braving the blowing snow.

"I'm trying to hit 50 ski days; today is 49, so I figure I might as well take it while I can get it," said Andy Rossmeissl of New Haven.

Rikert Nordic Center offers about 50 kilometers of trails; 5 kilometers are covered by snowmaking.

"This black line is the snowmaking loop, the Tormondsen Family trail," said Michael Hussey of Rikert Nordic Center.

The snowmaking is driven by a piped-air water system. It's the largest Nordic snowmaking system of its type in all of North America. Regulars say it's making a huge difference in conditions.

"It's night and day, yeah," Rossmeissl said.

Conditions across all open trails should keep getting better going into the weekend; cool temperatures and periodic snow showers will continue to refresh snow surfaces.

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