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

Slopeside: Okemo

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It's looking a little like winter outside and that mean's skiing weatherman Nick Borelli is going Slopeside at Okemo.

David Buchdahl has been skiing for the past 30 years. At 70 years old, he's not slowing down.

"Last year, I skied 30 days, but the year before that was a little better. I skied 50 days," said Buchdahl. 

Buchdahl spends most ski days at Okemo.

"It keeps me fit," said David.

Right now, ski surfaces are a mix of packed powder and looser granular, but with a man-made base, you have to watch out for some patches of hard pack.

As that man-made base gets broken up by groomers, large chunks of hard snow, often called death cookies, are kicked up so you have to use a little caution while going edge to edge.

Overall, though, there are no complaints for early December.

"Very well, really good. They're doing a good job. The snowcats are doing a great job," said Travis Newell from Mount Holly. 

"They're decent. Especially on the two trails off of here. Chief, I mean World Cup and Nor'easter. Anything they just opened the trails today, a little hard and chunky," said Buchdahl. 

Last winter, Okemo got just over 50 inches of snow. This winter they're already up to about 30 inches.

This season, Mother Nature has been pretty good to ski areas with a bit of natural snow and even though it's warming up a little bit through the middle of this week, as we go through the end of the week, much colder air will be moving in. That means all those snow guns will be turning back on and that means ski areas will be working toward opening more terrain. 

Since early this week, Okemo has more than doubled their open trail count from 11 to 23 plus.

Coming off last season's lackluster winter, skiers are feeling one thing for the weeks ahead.

"Optimistic. This season is going to be promising," said Newell.

"Optimistic, hopeful," said Buchdahl.

Still, last season is having a carry over effect on the bottom line.

"I think people are just a little bit gun shy. So numbers are off. They're waiting a bit longer to make their plans," said Bonnie MacPherson, Okemo.

But if the overall weather pattern continues to produce bouts of cold and snow, more skiers will join Buchdahl on the mountain in the coming weeks

"It's like meditation in motion. And I don't think about anything except going downhill," said Buchdahl.

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