Anticipating the Start of Ski Season

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.

Colder temps forecasted.
A forecast from a different year

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.

Skiing on opening day at Gore.
Gore Opening Day (2010)

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.

6 comments on “Anticipating the Start of Ski Season

  1. Glad I got in a day at Killington last week…but I sure was hoping to ski next week in NY. Not looking good, though this morning my yard is white.

  2. I was up at Belleayre this afternoon. They had blown some snow last night and was told they would continue as long as temps allow. hopefully they can make their Nov 25th tentative opening.

  3. Our plan is to be there for opening day. But with a 7 Hr drive. More accurate info and as much as possible is appreciated. Nice positive blog entry.

  4. Harv: You keep getting me excited every time I see that graphic with the dark blue (super cold) air mass over the Eastern US. Only problem, it’s not from this year, so I end up disappointed again, wondering when we are going to see real winter weather. I’m down in the Mid Atlantic, and I am getting tired of this dreary 65 degree weather when it should be cold.

  5. I just ran across this “epic 18 minute, 3-meteorolgist tag team winter forecast,” as All Over Albany calls it:—albany/.

    Short story – looks like a more normal Northeastern winter (at least by the standards of the last decade) with cold snaps and warm-ups. Hopefully the team is wrong, but if not at least I’ll have the memories of last year’s phenomenal season.

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