This winter has been anything but in the northeast. No surprise there.
What is a surprise is when you can find good conditions despite the lack of snow and the yoyo temperatures we have experienced all season long. The abundance of human made snow seems to had held up better than mother nature’s.
Good conditions are exactly what we all found at Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont on the last day of this winter, or shall I say the winter that wasn’t.
Cold weather returned on winter’s last day. Temperatures were in the forties on morning the day before and dropped throughout the day bottoming out in the low twenties at night.
The low temperatures gave the groomers at Okemo something to work with. And work with it they did.
In this writer’s opinion no resort grooms better than Okemo.
The forecast for the last day of winter was for sunshine and high temperatures in the low thirties all day. With the colder temperatures we had to add a few extra layers to what we had been wearing the past several times out. We had to get the mittens back out as well; hand warmers too.
It was a demo day at Okemo and skiers and riders were taking advantage of the opportunity to test out the equipment that would be available in the fall. This added to the buzz and enthusiasm that abounded around the base area at Jackson Gore.
Crisp temperatures and blue skies always make for a great ski day and this day was no exception. The sun was apparent on our faces and my black ski pants were warmed by the sun’s radiance.
With fresh corduroy all over the place the pace was fast, the runs a joy. Even though only about half the trails were open there was still plenty of cruising to be had.
Starting out at Jackson Gore to took a few runs on the Quantum Four lift. Despite the cool temperatures the bubble was not needed. We ripped down Sunset Strip, Blue Moon and Lower Limelight a few times and then headed south down Mountain Road to the Main base area.
Up the Sunburst Six we went. We were early enough to beat the crush that would come. A couple of runs on the South Face Express found some bare spots but the patrollers had been out to mark them. By late morning the almost equinox sun had turned to corduroy into frozen granular but not too heavy. No mashed potatoes were served.
We trekked North and East to over to Solitude and took several great runs on Coleman Brook, Sidewinder, Heaven’s Gate and Boomerang. These trails are just far enough north that the sun, which had reached its highest point in the sky in the past six months, had not done its damage. With few skiers and riders on the trails and non existent list lines we were able to make several laps adding to our vertical for the day.
Deciding to call it a day we headed back to Jackson Gore where we started. The demos were winding down but skiers and riders were basking and enjoying the last of the winter’s sun.
Okemo is scheduled to be open to April 3rd, but as always it is best to call or check before you go so you can be prepared for