Region blanketed with first winter storm of the season

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 9:03 AM EST
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The region Friday was hit with the first significant snowfall of the season, bringing heavy, wet snow that caused a few thousand power outages and made for slippery driving. It also allowed ski areas to gear up for the holiday break with a dose of powder.

Forecasters say the steady snow will taper off Saturday, leaving most areas with between 5″ and 10″ of new snow, The higher elevations of Green Mountains, White Mountains, and Adirondacks will be picking up anywhere from 8″ to 18.″

Green Mountain Power says it is prepared for possible outages from downed lines. “That snow is going to keep coming -- it’s heavy, it’s wet, it will keep piling up and that could potentially cause some outages,” said GMP’s Kristin Kelly. She says crews have been stationed throughout the state to respond in the event of a power outage and they’ve also enlisted help from out of state. “We have crews here from Canada, Maine, and Massachusetts to help out if there is a lot of heavy, wet snow as has been forecasted. It can sit on the trees and powerlines. It’s like cement. It just is sticky and it weighs it down. It can tear down the lines and cause outages.”

As of 5 p.m., GMP reports more than 3,600 customers are experiencing outages in most parts of the state.

The cleanup will take time. Dr. Stanley Shapiro with the Rutland Heart Center, says it’s important to go slow and take breaks shoveling. “Anything that causes you to feel short of breath, develop chest pain, pressure or tightness, feel light-headed, dizzy or woozy -- those are signs that you really must respect in order to not run into any trouble,” he said.

But the snow is also for playing. Skiers and riders took advantage of a snow day at Killington. “It’s almost like you got a fresh set of snow every couple of hours, so one trail you think is skied off and the next trail is brand new snow again,” said Andrew Field of Plymouth.

“It’s definitely a good start to the season, better than past years I would say,” said Cameron Chelo of Rhode Island.

“We got here and as soon as we saw the powder. When riding up that first ski lift, we were ready to go, and then getting down and skiing our first slope it was like the best feeling ever,” said Maria Ascanio from Boston.

Killington Resort officials say they’re looking forward to a busy weekend on the mountain.

Other snow-dependent businesses say they are also ready for winter. In Warren, At Blueberry Lake Cross Country is grooming trails for skiers and snowshoers. They operate roughly 20 miles of trails and rely on natural snow.

“It means a lot of work, but it also means continuing the business my father started years ago and which he would like to have continued. So yeah, it’s exciting,” said the center’s George Robinson.

He says if the weekend is top-notch, they hope to see about 100 people using the trails.

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