MONTPELIER (AP) - The state's ski areas say the early season is looking good, despite some rain, with the slopes full of skiers, many of whom are staying in area hotels and eating in local restaurants.
Even though northern Vermont is expected to get only a dusting of snow in a storm forecast to hit southern New England and parts of New York on Thursday and Friday, snow down-country boosts interest in skiing, sending people north to the slopes, said JJ Toland, a spokesman for Jay Peak ski resort, just south of the Canadian border.
"We could definitely see some day traffic because God knows we don't have any beds left," Toland said on Wednesday. "It's wondrous chaos up here."
Toland said the business at Jay Peak is up 24 percent over last year, but comparing this season to last isn't perfect because the resort has 930 more beds than it did a year ago through the construction of a new hotel and 100 condominiums.
At Killington, farther south in central Vermont, the story was similar. As of just before Christmas, business was about 9.5 percent ahead of the same point in the 2012-13 season and the slopes have been full, spokesman Michael Joseph said.
Last week's ice storm hurt, Toland and Joseph said, but both resorts have ample snowmaking systems and the temperatures have generally remained cold. Jay Peak got 3 to 4 inches of fluffy snow overnight, Toland said Wednesday.
Parts of southern Vermont are forecast to get 6 to 12 inches of snow in the storm expected to hit this week. The expected amount decreases farther north.
Killington was expecting quite a bit of snow during the first week of January, Joseph said.
"We're fully operational from peak to peak," he said, "and we're working toward being 100 percent open."