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Ski Resorts Open for Season This Holiday Weekend

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
November 29, 2013; 5:41 AM ET
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Thanksgiving marked the opening day for many ski resorts across the country, and parts of the East and the Rockies will have the perfect setup to make some fresh snow.

The Arctic air that rushed across the Plains toward the Midwest and East this week may linger long enough to give some resorts an early dose of the white stuff.

"Temperatures will trend upward into this coming week, and the dry air and cold nights will allow resorts to make more snow or keep the snow they have," Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "The sun angle is low, the days are short and many trails are on the shady side of the mountains, further reducing melting."

Snow is not in the weekend forecast for most of the East, but a strong cold shot from earlier this week gave ample opportunities to artificially manufacture some snow.

With the Thanksgiving holiday on the way, many resorts across the United States are preparing for their opening day. (Discovery Ski Area Photo/Athena Lonsdale)

Sosnowski said that the next chance of precipitation for the Northeast will be next weekend, likely falling as rain. However, the rain will be brief and will be followed by another push of colder air.

Northern New England will fare well despite this, as the region has already received a sufficient base of snow in many areas. Nearly 30 inches have fallen across Mt. Washington, N.H., since mid-October, 22 inches of which have fallen so far this month.

Among the ski resorts to open Thanksgiving Weekend in the Northeast are New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee, with seven of 66 trails now open; Loon Mountain, with 19 trails open and Waterville Valley with six trails open. Vermont's Okemo Mountain has 27 of 120 trails open, and Smuggler's Notch has opened eight trails.

Bruce McCloy, a spokesperson with Mount Sunapee, said that 21 percent of all the resort's terrain would be open for their first weekend of the season, the most they have ver had available for an opening. He credits the cold weather that started the week and the advances in snow-making technology for the large opening.

"We basically rely on snowmaking early in the season," McCloy said. The unpredictability of natural snow is not something the resorts want to count on. He explained that the increased energy efficiency of snow guns allows more to be run at once, producing more snow for the slopes.

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Similar to the East, parts of the Rockies will also enjoy a snowy Thanksgiving weekend.

"Montana should already have some good snow on the ground and will be able to make more with the cold shot this week and next week," Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

The arrival of cold air to the region will also bring good news for Wyoming, which missed out on the significant snow that fell earlier this season to the north.

"We do expect some great numbers over the holiday weekend. We're going to open the whole resort for free on Friday, Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving," Anna Cole, communications manager at Jackson Hole Ski Resort, said.

The arrival of cold air to the region will also bring good news for Wyoming, which missed out on the significant snow that fell earlier this season to the north. (Discovery Ski Area Photo/Megan Glassburn)

The 2013-2014 Winter Forecast predicts an above-normal snowfall for the state, after two years of slightly below-average snowfall across the Tetons.

"We're expecting everything to be up from last year. We have more airline seats coming in to the Jackson Hole airport, the early lodging bookings are ahead of last year at this time, we're excited to have a successful season," Cole said.

Fresh snow is forecast across Colorado, which will freshen conditions on the state's slopes, Pastelok said. Meanwhile, dry conditions will slow the start of the season in Washington, Oregon and northern California.

"They will get some systems this winter, but mainly after the holiday weekend," Pastelok said.

Content contributed by Staff Writer Samantha-Rae Tuthill.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Jillian MacMath at, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Jillian or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.


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