Many of the Middlebury College Snow Bowl chairs made their way up the mountain empty Tuesday. The number of skier visits is down by almost half this season versus last. Still, a few people came out to ski.
"I wish the conditions were better," said Phil Heitkamp from Weybridge.
Heitkamp has been making turns at the Snow Bowl since the 1970s, but this isn't his favorite day.
Thanks to recent mild temperatures, followed by a freeze, snow surfaces are tough. The base is firm, with some icy corduroy on top. The kind of conditions that make it difficult to hold an edge. And use plenty of caution because bare spots are beginning to show up.
"It's ice. But I haven't been down the line yet, so I'm going to try that," said Heitkamp.
The weather has impacted snow surfaces and trail counts.
Just last weekend, the Middlebury College Snow Bowl managed to open all 17 of their trails, including seven on the backside, which are all natural snow. But with the up and down temperatures this week, they've lost those seven trails. And, in fact, with more rain coming the middle of the week, the trail count could go down even further.
Some ski areas, like Bromley, are even suspending operations Wednesday and Thursday in order to preserve snow and repair any damage caused by the upcoming rain.
For winter enthusiasts, it's been a season of waiting. Waiting for a real snowstorm. Waiting for some consistent cold. So, are people like Heitkamp giving up yet?
"No we are holding out. We're going to hope for something Saturday might come even," Heitkamp said.
A weak clipper system will bring some snow showers and colder temperatures this weekend. The snow guns will be back on. And with a little luck, there could be just enough snow for folks who like to earn their turns. After all, this season the Snow Bowl has a new uphill travel policy.
"It's a great program. I think we're jumping on board with a lot of ski areas. It's a designated trail area that starts in our base area," said John Nucedar, Middlebury College Snow Bowl.
For $20 you can skin up the mountain for the entire season.
Regardless of how you get to the top, skiers come out for one reason and that's to have a good time.
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