Powder Days Return!

After a frigid weekend where temperatures dropped as low as -20, with wind chill down to – 40 in spots, skiers were rejoicing at the prospect of a snow-bearing Nor’easter dumping as much as 10 inches on the Greens, with temps rising to the 30s.

‘On Monday morning, Martin Luther King Day, the snow started. By the time measurements were being taken at ski areas around the state, 8 inches had fallen at Mount Snow and 5 inches of new snow was being reported at Stratton, Bromley and Magic. Farther north, Killington was also reporting 8 inches. Sugarbush was reporting 3 inches. North of there, from Bolton Valley to Smuggs; Stowe to Burke, two inches of snow had fallen as of early morning.

That was the good news. The bad news was that with the storm winds whipping to a steady 55 mph on the western slopes of the Green Mountains, there are lift closures throughout the state Monday morning, including gondolas at Stratton and Killington  and many chairs as well . Middlebury Snow Bowl was putting off opening until noon. Gusts on Mt. Mansfield were clocked at over 90 mph.

The National Weather Service in Burlington issued this warning: “Travel will be very difficult to impossible. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning commute today. In combination with gusty winds, isolated to scattered power outages are possible, especially across southern Vermont where heavy, wet snow is expected.”

Still, as the Nor’easter spun through the region it was expected to drop a bit of elevation-dependent rain before turning back to snow and forecasters are calling for another 3 to 5 inches overnight into Tuesday  as temperatures drop down with snowfall totals around the 7 to 11  inches for much of the state.

While the weather may not be ideal for the moment, the good news is that the wind pack, combined with the wetter, heavier snow, will lay a base that the mountains have sorrily needed. Winter, it seems, is finally starting to deliver.

Opening photo: radar map by the National Weather Service shows forecasted snowfall as of Sunday, Jan. 16

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.