First Tracks at Lapland Lake

The winter of 2018-19 seems to be picking up right where last season left off, with unusually early snow accumulations across the region. Resorts have opened, with more terrain than expected, and ski areas that rely entirely on natural snow are feeling it this Snowvember.

Almost winter

With my alpine setup not quite ready, I headed up to Lapland Lake Nordic Center, who set a new record on this year opening on November 14th, their earliest ever. With three trails totaling ~4-6 km of beginner and intermediate terrain, it was looking like a great day to get back in the swing of things. I arrived to see only a few other cars in the lot, which I took as another good sign.

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Opening Day at Gore Mountain 2018

Without an official announcement about Opening Day, Gore’s status was a mystery last week. On Tuesday, there was a story published that had all three New York state ski areas opening on the 23rd. It seemed to catch many by surprise.

snowpack
Snowpack at 1900 feet

With most of the 20 inches recorded season to date still on the ground, and other mountains to the south, east and west slated to open, it seem likely that Gore could and would open too. Finally, on Thursday the governor said “make it so.”

Friday I headed north and stopped at my traditional spot, the Sbarro in Sloatsburg on the New York Thruway. I saw an excited first post from new member of the forum: “Gore is opening the summit!!”

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Killington: Let’s Get Going

Killington isn’t called The Beast of the East for nothing. The place is big with lots of vertical; it has a great variety of terrain and tons of lift capacity.

K1 Lodge

But where they really earn the respect of diehard fans is in the snowmaking department. Killington has a robust snowmaking system and a skillful, dedicated crew that allows them to open early in the fall, stay open late into spring and persevere in low-snow years.

I’m a bit partial since I worked in Killington’s snowmaking department one season but I would argue that the snow they make is better too, as close to the real thing as is possible using pond water and compressed air.

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