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How the weather is affecting Vt. ski areas - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How the weather is affecting Vt. ski areas

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

What a difference a week makes, and for families on school break who love to ski and ride, this warm winter weather is not what they were hoping for. Much of the snow we had earlier in the month has disappeared.

So what does that mean for skiers and riders this school vacation week? There are about 1,200 downhill trails in Vermont. Last week, most were open. But in the last week, disappearing snowpack has closed about one-third of all trails in the state.

We spoke with ski industry experts about this change in fortune.

"We've lost a few trails. This week we're at 49 trails today, whereas the end of last week, two weeks ago when we had all that snow we were up to 71 trails," said Josh Arneson of the Bolton Valley Resort.

"It's not as if you see a closed trail, it means it's all brown dirt. It's just that the thaw-freezing cycle was severe enough that they need more time to get groomers on those trails," said Parker Riehle of Ski Vermont. "A lot of the time, especially midweek, they're going to pull back on those trail counts, especially if they're not in the busy part of Vermont, for the northern half of Vermont school vacations."

"We did get about over 3 feet of snow leading up to Presidents Week, which gave us a great base depth on our natural snow trails, in addition to the trails where we have snowmaking. So even though we've had about 10 days now of warmer than normal temperatures, I think our trails are holding up really well," Arneson said.

"The good news is it came after the heaviest part of the Presidents Day vacation period when we saw record or near-record numbers for ski areas, numbers we haven't seen in many years," Riehle said.

So where do we stand now? Feb. 17 there were 102 inches of snow at the stake, that's way above what's considered normal for a Vermont winter. Right now, we're at 66 inches. So we lost 3 feet of snow but we are back to what is considered normal snow depth.

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