This November has been quite warm, but that’s not all that unusual. Eastern skiers often fret about the possible postponement of opening day, scheduled for Black Friday at many mountains. I looked back through early season posts to see what I was thinking in years past.
In November of 2009, while skiers in the western US were enjoying cold temps and fresh snow, eastern skiers were sweating it out. On November 22, I posted a 6-10 day temperature outlook from the National Weather Service that promised colder air for the east.
That year opening day at Gore featured only 250 feet of vertical. As usual, I had a good time, even though pickins were slim. The next day at Whiteface also opened a single run, but in true Whiteface style, that run featured 1500 feet of vertical.
2008 was a more “normal” year, at Gore at least. Opening day came as scheduled after Thanksgiving with the amount of terrain we’ve come to expect: a couple intermediate and expert runs.
Last year, opening day at Gore was delayed until the Saturday after Thanksgiving due to challenging weather and warmth. NY mountains had limited terrain, but as most remember, when winter finally kicked in, we enjoyed sustained cold through the heart of the season.
Oddly, this year I feel differently about a warm November and the distinct possibility that early December will be less than ideal. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was fortunate to grab some powder turns at Plattekill in late October. Or maybe going three years without a raise brings the “upside” of warmer temps into focus — savings from reduced fuel use and, unfortunately, reduced skiing.
It could be that I’m just older and willing to wait until the cold weather comes, taking what I can get. I do wish that the forecast map at the top of this post was for this year. But whatever happens over the next few weeks, I’m optimistic as ever that there will be great skiing this year, and we’ll get our share of it, here in the east.