Ski areas delay opening one weekend

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(Host) A number of Vermont ski areas will be opening this year with new and faster lifts and increased snowmaking. But there are signs that after years of investing in technology, the resorts are beginning to focus on other types of improvements.

David Dillon is president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association.

(Dillon) “I think what we’re seeing, in terms of infrastructure improvements at Vermont ski areas, is going to be changing. And in fact has been changing, because most of the Vermont ski areas have been able to bring their snowmaking and lift infrastructure into the technological advancements that have been made over the years.”

(Host) Dillon says the new frontier for ski areas is expanding guest services by creating additional activities on and off the slopes.

So far, only Killington and Okemo have opened for the season. Several other areas have postponed their openings due to recent warm weather. Jim Roemer is a forecaster for a number of ski areas. Roemer says the snowfall this winter will be influenced by El Nino weather patterns, caused by Pacific Ocean currents. That means a good, but not great, year for snow:

(Roemer) “Typically with El Nino, we see below normal snowfall on average, across the northern half or two thirds of Vermont and very changeable temperatures. That does not mean that we’re going to have below normal snowfall everywhere, southern Vermont tends to get above normal snowfall. It’s going to be okay, I think the ski areas will have a decent season this year.”

(Host) It’s expected many ski areas will be open in time for the Thanksgiving vacation. That’s an improvement over last year, when the resorts got an unusually late start and missed a critical holiday week.

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