Cold is somewhat to be expected on the ski slopes. But this weekend’s arctic blast caused local ski areas to stay cautious in the face of dangerous wind chills.
“We were open with the mid-mountain lift only until 11:15 on Friday when wind speeds became very strong,” said Geoff Hatheway, president of Magic Mountain in Londonderry, describing winds gusting at 50 miles per hour even at the mid mountain, with subzero temperatures and -40 degree wind chill.
For guest safety, the lift was put on hold. However, lifts at Magic ended up remaining closed through the afternoon.
“With -20 ambient temps on Saturday morning, we had planned a delayed opening until temps climbed to low negative single digits,” Hatheway said, and the resort opened the mid-mountain lift at 11 a.m. then the summit lift at 1 p.m. “Low wind speeds on Saturday helped from a lift operation and customer safety perspective.”
West Dover-based Mount Snow delayed its Saturday opening “due to the cold temperatures and wind on the mountain ... to give our teams a little extra time to prepare for the day,” according to a post on the resort’s Facebook page.
Stratton Mountain Resort suspended Upper Mountain lifts and Sun Bowl operations Friday as the temperatures were “forecasted to hit a season low,” states a post on the mountain’s page. Upper Mountain lifts were suspended again Saturday.
Brattleboro Ski Hill was kept closed Friday and Saturday due to the weather, said Jill McColgan, director of programs at the hill. Her group decided to extend hours on Sunday, opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. rather than the typical noon to 4 p.m. schedule.
“The snowmaking team was hard at work and made tons of snow in preparation for the warmer temps predicted for this week,” McColgan said Sunday.