Several Vermont ski resorts open for early start

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 9:08 AM EST
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - Following a recent stretch of winter-like weather, several ski resorts in our region are opening today.

The snow guns are firing, and some trails are ready to go, as some resorts like Stowe gear up to welcome skiers and riders for the first time this season.

“We really started blowing snow back on November 13, which was Sunday, and as you know last week we were at 70 degrees so it’s really just incredible how mother nature gave us this great cold spell and we’ve been in snow making mode ever since,” Scott Reeves, Senior Director for Mountain Operations at Stowe Mountain Resort said.

According to the resort, Saturday is their earliest opening day since 2018.

Reeves says given that it’s early in the season, and some trails are not ready to open, the resort will be offering a beginner trail and some advanced terrain this weekend.

“Our opening terrain is very typical of what we’ve done every year, with the exception of we’ve added a few other areas because of the temperatures that we’ve had up top,” Reeves said.

Crews have been hard at work at Sugarbush Resort throughout the week blowing snow, and grooming trails, as they prepare for a long awaited day on the mountain.

“It’s almost a surprise considering how mild it’s been that we were even able to open, so I think people are pretty stoked just for that,” John Bleh of Sugarbush Resort said. “But like any ski season, we get to the beginning here and the hype level is just so high to get back out on the hill. It’s really one of the most fun times of the year.”

Bleh says during the off season their staffing levels have increased from where they were during the pandemic.

“At this time last year our lift maintenance team was a lot thinner than it is now and I think it caused some issues throughout the season, and this year we have a fully equipped, fully staffed lift maintenance team that has gone through the summer and I think that’s going to make a real difference this year as far as the experience we’re putting out.”

The story is the same at Stowe, as ownership raised the minimum wage to $15/per hour.

Reeves says that has helped to recruit and retain staff members.

“With these staffing levels we can provide the level of service that people have become accustomed to - we can open the number of lifts we need to, cafeterias. So it’s all a positive step forward.”

Stowe Mountain Resort is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Sugarbush will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Killington opened some of their trails on Thursday.