As temperatures dip back down, ski areas start making snowBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
November 08. 2017 10:04PM
PINKHAM NOTCH -- As Mother Nature shakes the last remnants of Indian Summer from her hair, the temperature in the North Country is dropping and several ski resorts are making snow, with Wildcat Mountain poised to open Saturday.
“Snowmaking currently purring,” Wildcat announced Tuesday morning on its Facebook page. “The Cat Nap is over!” On Wednesday, the resort added that the Lynx trail was “covered in a fresh white coat. It’s full on winter at 4,062’!”
Each year, Wildcat is among the earliest of New Hampshire’s alpine resorts to open and one of the last to close. Like most ski areas, Wildcat has extensive snowmaking capability, but to make snow, you need a number of climatological factors to come together, temperature among them.
Snow is best made when the temperature is around 28 degrees, but until this week, the temperatures have been much higher.
But winter is coming, and the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said the White Mountains are expected to hover just above the freezing point today, with snow showers that could drop as much as three inches of the white stuff tonight into Friday.
There’s a 30 percent chance of snow on Sunday night, but what’s for certain is that from now through next Wednesday, the weather will be generally cold, which is great news for SKI NH and its member alpine and cross-country resorts.
The return of the cold weather has allowed SKI NH members Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods, and Loon Mountain to begin making snow, said Karolyn Castaldo, Ski NH’s communications and marketing manager, while Cranmore Mountain and Mount Sunapee “will fire away this weekend.”
Granite Gorge and Waterville Valley plan to make snow next week, said Castaldo.
Beyond allowing snowmaking, dropping temperatures have a direct economic impact, Castaldo said. “As soon as skiers and riders see frost on their cars and snow being made on the slopes, they begin to get excited for the season, which in turn helps to drive sales of tickets and passes, ski gear, and more.”
According to SKI NH’s website, Black Mountain plans to open on Dec. 2; Bretton Woods on Nov. 13; Cannon on Nov. 24; and McIntyre Ski Area on Dec. 15.
Loon has been making snow since Tuesday on six trails, said spokesman Greg Kwasnik, and intends to make more on Friday and Saturday. Although no opening date has been set, Loon is “right on target,” he said, to open in mid-November.
Last season was a good one for SKI NH’s 16 alpine and 18 cross-country members, which counted 2.35 million visits, a 33 percent increase over the prior year.
Alpine skier and rider visits totaled 2.1 million, SKI NH said, while total cross-country skier visits were up 80 percent to 133,621. During the 2016-2017 season, there were 119,690 snow tubing visits, which SKI NH said is the third best year since it started keeping records on that activity 20 years ago.