Winter Weather Brings Cheers From Skiers, Boarders
Liam Welch, 6, brushes snow off of his sister Ava, 3, yesterday in Fairlee. The siblings along with their brother Bailey,10, (not pictured) were enjoying the first significant snow of the season. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Faith Catlin, center, and her husband, John Griesemer, right, chat with neighbor Ramon Graham while walking back home after skiing in meadows behind the church and cemetery in Lyme. Yesterday’s winter weather made for ideal skiing conditions. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Zach Roberts, of Lebanon, helps out his mother by shoveling the walk of her Great Lengths Salon in Lebanon yesterday while home for the holidays from New Hampshire Technical Institute.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Quechee — Upper Valley residents and holiday vacationers alike made the most of a powerful winter storm yesterday as it rolled through New England, slowing down travel on the roadways but not without offering plenty of opportunities for fun in the snow.
As flakes fell yesterday, several skiers and snowboarders congregated at the base of the slopes at the Quechee Club around noon, where more than 170 lift tickets had already been sold for the day.
For Delia Frank, who lives on Long Island, N.Y., but has owned a home in Quechee since 1980, the snow-wielding storm had “perfect timing.”
“Right, kids?” Frank relayed the question to her two children, aged 8 and 11, who shouted back enthusiastically in agreement — all three were on skis.
A few feet away, Tim Hopkins, of Westborough, Mass., watched over his 3 year-old grandson, Bruce, whose skis lunged forward and backward with a life of their own yesterday as the youngster learned the ropes — and the rope tow at the bunny slope.
Despite not yet having too much control over his skis, Bruce was undeterred when Tim Hopkins asked him where he wanted to venture next.
“Up that hill,” he said, pointing to the main slope where his father had just ascended the chair lift.
The report of an uptick in traffic was echoed by some of the larger ski resorts in the region, as well.
Over at the Suicide Six Ski Area in Woodstock, recreation director Chuck Vanderstreet said that the mountain had already been making snow “around the clock.”
“This is what we call frosting on the cake,” he said.
Vanderstreet said that the Woodstock Inn, which is affiliated with the ski resort, was sold out yesterday and through the holiday season.
That’s especially welcome news for the resort, which got a late start opening this season because of warm weather. In recent weeks, warmer-than-average temperatures have made for poor snow-making conditions at night.
Vanderstreet said Suicide Six opened on Wednesday because the conditions weren’t ready earlier, but with the added snow from the storm, he expected to be in “great shape” by tomorrow.
At Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, N.H., internet marketing director Ross Malaguti said that they, too, were seeing plenty of skiers and snowboarders yesterday.
“People are itching to get out and the snowfall is really making people excited,” he said.
For Malaguti, the storm was “definitely what we needed to see.”
“There’s always going to be the people that come regardless, (but) the next group is the people who want to see a little extra, natural snow,” he said. “When that snow comes, they show up.”
Hanover’s Storrs Pond, a popular sledding destination, was packed with sled-riders and snowmen-builders.
Jon Criswell climbed onto a wooden sled with his 11 month-old daughter, Norah, on his lap. Together, they gently slid down Norah’s first slope ever as her mom, Julie Johnson, watched them both and snapped pictures.
Despite the thrill of the ride, Norah remained calm and quiet.
“She’s just taking it all in,” said Criswell, who was celebrating his 39th birthday. The three had just finished a birthday brunch at the Four Aces Diner in Lebanon.
But it wasn’t all fun and games for everyone.
At the Hanover Co-op parking lot yesterday afternoon, Scott Boisvert and Justin Jeror, who run a Lebanon-based plowing company together, said that they had been up since 1:30 a.m. By 2 p.m., they had already plowed that parking lot a half-dozen times, and the two were exiting the truck donning shovels as they prepared to clear the walkways.
“It’s wet and heavy,” Boisvert said of the snow yesterday. “It’s just hard to handle because it’s slick, but that’s all.”
According to Jeror, that was “more of a pain in the back than a pain the neck.”
Boisvert and Jeror said that the Hanover Co-ops on Lebanon Street and Lyme Road are their two major business accounts. And while some who run plow trucks may have been welcoming the snow yesterday for business reasons, Boisvert said that because he and Jeror have a contract with the two Co-op food stores, “we make more money if it doesn’t snow.”
“But that’s just the way of the world,” he added.
As for when they would be finished for the night, Boisvert said, “When it stops.”
“Maybe tomorrow, it’s hard to tell,” he said.
Jason Neilson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Burlington office, said yesterday afternoon that the snow would continue into the evening and slowly subside over night before tapering off during the day today.
Neilson said that Upper Valley residents could expect up to a foot of fresh snow as a result of the storm.
Ben Conarck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3213.