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

Slopeside with Nick Borelli: Suicide Six

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It feels a little more like winter outside and skiers are making the most of a little natural snow. This week on Slopeside Nick Borelli takes us to Suicide Six.

For Fred Merrill of Woodstock, his love for skiing started at a young age.

"I came here at the age of 3," Merrill said.

Merrill has been making turns at Suicide Six for decades.

"It's totally laid back. It's old Woodstock and all of the people here," said Merrill. 

The ski area has been a part of the Woodstock area for 80 years. It was founded by a man named Bunny Bertram.

"In 1936, 1937 he was walking with some friends with a topographical map," recounted Chuch Vanderstreet of Suicide Six. "They stopped at hill number six, looked down number six and said, 'To ski that would be suicide.'"

Suicide Six was born. Bunny ran the resort until 1961. 

"He was a good snowshoe champion at Dartmouth. And he loved to chew tobacco. And he used to sit over at the top here with a button, to make sure it was safe. As people fell off, he would hit the button and it would stop like that," said Merrill.

Bunny was a man who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty and often ran the rope tow.

"You just had to, as a little kid, you had to pick your guy ahead of you to hold the rope up. Cause the rope tightened and you wanted to make sure it wasn't stuck in your parka," said Merrill.

These days the rope tows are gone and more modern lifts get Merrill up the mountain. 

On Tuesday, he was enjoying nice snow surfaces on five out of 23 trails.

The grooming machines have tilled the snow enough over the past week to create a soft layer of manmade packed powder. Carving is smooth, but less than half of the resort's trails are open.

"Pretty soft right now. Like a little bit of powder, but not too much," said Samantha Ayotte from Woodstock.

"Perfect. Absolutely perfect. You've got a good base. They made a good base. It's snowing right now and they got about two inches of soft, very cold powder," said Merrill. 

We finally have a little bit of fresh snow this week and temperatures are cold enough so that snowmaking continues. But problems are going to happen this weekend. A big arctic airmass will come in and wind chills will go well below zero. And that means it could be pretty dangerous to be out.

Lots of cold in the forecast, but still not big snowstorms in sight.

Let's just hope that Merrill's predictions are right and maybe that trail count will go higher.

"The snow seems to be coming later. The whole season seems to have shifted by a month," said Merrill. 

So, Merrill isn't writing off this season just yet.

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