Northern New England welcomes blast of winter
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A storm forecast to drop up to a foot or more of snow over the weekend in Northern New England was good news for ski lodges, snowmobilers and ski towns across the region.
Vermont could see 6 to 12 inches while New Hampshire was expected to get 6 inches or more. And in Maine, coastal towns could be hit with up to 14 inches and the possibility of sleet before the storm winds down Sunday.
Some areas could see heavy snow combining with strong winds to produce near blizzard conditions, the National Weather Service said. A winter storm warning will remain in effect until Sunday afternoon in some areas of Maine, where speed restrictions were in effect for more than 100 miles of the Maine Turnpike.
But for many the snow was a welcome sight, arriving as three more ski areas in Vermont and six more in Maine opened this weekend.
“We have been watching that since people first started talking about it on Monday or Tuesday,” said Ethan Austin, spokesman for the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, which has been opened since November. “Right now it’s setting up pretty well for us, so we’re pretty psyched.”
Vermont’s snowmobile season opens Monday, and the snow forecast should be what riders need to get the season off to a good start.
“It’s certainly going to help get a base on the ground,” said Marcia Page of the Bayley-Hazen Road Snowmobile Club in Peacham. “I know as soon as there is snow on the ground they will start riding.”
Marty’s First Stop convenience store in Danville, which gets a good chunk of its business from snowmobilers, was also eager for the winter blast.
“This place can’t wait to get hopping on it,” said employee Carla Womble. “We make sure we have everything ready, make sure we have people and hot food that’s ready to go if they want something quick and fast.”
Bretton Woods Nordic Center at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire was planning to open Sunday and hoped for at least 4 inches of snow, said its director, Peter Smith. That should be enough to open up about 5 kilometers of skiing. Unlike the alpine area across the street, the Nordic center doesn’t make as much snow, meaning a heavier reliance on Mother Nature.
“Right now, we’ll take anything,” he said.
Alanna Durkin in Augusta, Maine; Rik Stevens in Concord, N.H., and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.