Many ski resorts to suspend lift operations during cold snap

The frigid cold has a lot of people planning for a cozy weekend inside, but some people will still be bundling up to hit the slopes.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:33 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:13 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The frigid cold has a lot of people planning for a cozy weekend inside, but some people will still be bundling up to hit the slopes.

Before heading out, people should make sure the ski area they’re heading to is open. As these negative wind chills roll in, many are modifying or even suspending lift operations.

“Sitting on the chairs is cold on the rear,” said Darcy Collins, who is visiting from Iowa with her family. Their plans for the weekend? Get in as much skiing as possible. “We’re skiing up until Monday. I would say as long as you dress good, you’ll stay warm.”

Not everyone shares their enthusiasm for the cold. The predicted windchills of up to minus 40 are a little too much for some.

“This weekend is going to be way too cold,” said Shaun O’Rourke from Bolton Valley. “It’s a good time to get on the couch, watch a movie and hang out with friends.”

“I was going to ski on Saturday at Smugglers’ Notch, but I knew it was going to take me a while to get down the mountain,” said L.J. McCaffrey, a UVM student. “Since I wouldn’t be able to get as many breaks in inside, I knew [Thursday] would be a better day, just so I could avoid frostbite.”

Jay Peak, Smugglers’ Notch, Pico and Bolton are among those resorts hitting pause on Friday.

Michael Chait, a spokesperson for Jay Peak, says the mountain will likely be on a limited schedule Saturday but the final schedule won’t be determined until that morning.

“It will hurt us financially, but luckily we have a good understanding of what drives our success here,” Chait said. “It’s not the lift ticket sales, it’s the folks who buy those lift tickets, and we need to keep them safe.”

Other ski areas like Stowe and Killington will be open, though certain trails and lifts will be closed. Molly Mahar from Ski Vermont says if you are heading out, be prepared.

“Bring a buddy. Don’t ride alone on a cold day,” Mahar said. “Cover all the exposed skin. Make use of those goggles, face masks, neck gaiters.”

She also adds it’s important to eat and stay hydrated.

Not only will those things keep you warm, but they will also keep you safe. Will Moran with the Vermont Department of Health, says it’s important to watch for signs of frostbite and get medical help if you experience any of them. They include skin that’s cold to the touch, numbness and tingling, and red, white, or gray discoloration.

“Folks that are intoxicated or have had taken a substance may not be acutely aware of the injury they’re experiencing and those are probably the big ones,” Moran said of people at risk.

Collins says in her experience, the trick to staying warm is to keep moving. “As long as you work out there, you won’t get cold.”

In addition to bundling up and watching your substance intake, make sure you have the number for ski patrol in case anything goes awry on the mountain.

Related Stories:

Region braces for brutal cold

Warming shelters open up across Vermont as temperatures drop

Officials urge caution ahead of extreme cold

As Vt. braces for brutal cold, vets caution to ‘bring the pets inside’

2023 Penguin Plunge cancels outdoor event, goes remote