Sports U.S. Uncategorized

Ski Season Comes to a Slushy Close

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–Despite this year’s especially dry and warm winter, the 2015-16 ski season delivered just enough cold and snowy weather to give East Coast skiers something to ride this spring. That said, for those wanting to ride this spring, some extra hours of travel time will be needed. That’s because almost all New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York ski areas within two and a half hours of the New York City area closed for the season as early as the first weeks of March.
For example, Mountain Creek, a ski area in Vernon, N.J., was forced to close the weekend of March 12 due to warm weather and quickly melting snow. Other popular local areas like Camelback and Blue Mountain were also forced to close the following weekend. All of these areas typically remain open into April during winters with average snowfall. However, this won’t be the case for East Coast skiing this year.

Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer
Photo courtesy of Lukas Kaefer

Some northern ski areas like Stowe, Stratton, and Loon Mountain were in fact able to stay open into April. Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y., was fortunate enough to receive sufficient snow and colder temperatures to remain open until Sunday, April 10. Killington, a large resort in central Vermont, is even pushing to be rideable until May.
While riding in Whiteface during the weekend prior to its close, about 30 trails remained open. The weather was all over the place, with warm, 50 degree spring conditions on Saturday and freezing, windy 20 degree temperatures on Sunday. This meant conditions changed rapidly from day to day.
On Saturday, April 2, conditions were those of classic spring riding. Snow was soft across the mountain, and soft turns were to be had all day. Speed was lacking a bit as some sections turned into small rivers and bigger slush lakes. This meant a few issues in the terrain park Whiteface had set up.
Most features were still rideable, but as the day went on, lips and landings turned to water. The one small jump in the park was also difficult to clear with these slushy conditions. That said, it was conducive to soft landings, which made it the perfect time to try new tricks.
In short, spring conditions are normally pretty fun when it comes to skiing. It’s warm, the snow’s soft, and things are pretty mellow in general. On Sunday, April 3, skiiers would expect these conditions, but everything changed. A cold spell through the night brought temperatures down to about 20 degrees with strong winds. The Whiteface trails could have turned into sheets of ice with the temperature drop, but the Whiteface team did an excellent grooming job and even blew some snow. Most trails were perfectly manicured and even had some soft snow on top. Speeds were also much higher thanks to less sticky snow.
All in all, the weekend pretty much summed up the season as a whole. It was a fitting end to a season which started off with spring conditions and rarely shifted to normal winter weather.
Despite a record-low snow season, with Central Park receiving 30 inches and Albany receiving only 10.3 inches through the season, according to Wunderground, the ski season was actually quite good. There were still powder days and plenty of chances to ride. Sophomore skier Caitlin Murphy summed it up best.
“I wish we could have had a longer ski season,” she said. “But I’m totally satisfied with what I got out of it and I can’t wait for next year!”