Where The Snow Is In The East, A Ski Learning Tool, Grandparents Teach Munchkins, Weather Coming, Apres Fire-ish Cocktail.

Lots of snow in view from Peak Lodge, Killington (4,236 feet). Credit: Roger Lohr

Sounds as if the West is off to an incredible season. Snow packs in Colorado and Utah are already over normal amounts, the Northwest and Western Canada is getting more new snow.  So there’s lots of visitor activity.  A quick scan shows most Colorado resorts have 100 percent of their lifts spinning.  A number of our skier friends here in New England are leaving for the West this week or next.

Meanwhile, in the East, the season is emerging.  The higher altitude resorts in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont are making or collecting snow very nicely; lower level areas are, as of this writing, making the most of machine grooming.  Obviously, tall mountain resorts have an advantage in quixotic winters like the one we experiencing here. How much advantage?

Temperature cools with elevation. In fact, for every 1,000 feet in altitude, the temperature drops 5.4 degrees F (9.8 degrees C for 1,000 meters). For example, the top of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont is 4, 395 feet (1,340 meters), and Mt. Sunapee in mid New Hampshire is 2,726 feet (831 meters). That’s a difference of 1,669 feet (508 meters), for a more than nine degree difference in temperature between the two at the top.  The base can be another 1,500 or more feet under that. As of this writing, Stowe has 80 percent of its trails open, Mt. Sunapee has 56 percent.  Ideal snow-making temperature is 28 degrees F (-2-2 C). Clearly, marginally cold days like those we’ve been experiencing in New England are going to favor high resorts.

Last August, we surveyed the usual forecasters for their views of the 2019-2020 winter.  For the most part, the consensus was a frosty and snowy West and a “mixed, wet and wild” East. The Boston Globe published NOAA’s winter outlook in October which seems to be squaring with what we are seeing. These predictions point to warmer than average temps in the East. It appears that prediction is coming to pass. So far, lower altitude resorts are impacted more than the higher ones.

The point: The resorts at lower elevations have to, no, must do a fantastic job at snowmaking whenever it gets cold enough. If it gets cold enough.  It is a key survival objective, and the path to a successful season and future.  No wonder we’ve been seeing major investments in snowmaking in New England in the past few years.

This Week

How do you learn to improve? We’ve had our own experiences in physical skill learning, from taking horse riding lessons to playing music (more physical than most non-musicians realize). What we have found is that two factors make a huge difference in efficiency of learning.  The first is clear intellectual understanding of the concepts involved.  What do we mean by edging, for example? Boot pressure? A clear mental model of what has to happen and how comes first.  Then, we need to practice and get feedback, the second major factor.  Feedback from both others and our own senses.  In his story on the Intention/Attention Feedback Loop, ski coach Bob Trueman explains how these concepts are included in a simple model for improvement.

We reprise Harriet Wallis’ story on advice for grandparents who want to teach their grandchildren. Check out her “non-obvious” tips for getting your munchkins on the snow.

This week’s Mystery Glimpse shows two racers, one a junior, the other a senior veteran. Guess who’s who. Thanks to the Thread of Pioneers Museum, Steamboat Springs, for the pic.  We reveal the story behind last week’s picture of the bronze sculpture from the Colorado Snowsports Museum and why it is a significant embodiment of ski history.

Yes, apres-ski can be interesting, too. Here’s a story from Yvette Cardozo about a fiery, smokey cocktail from a clever bartender, hanging out in Den Bar and Bistro in Silver Star, BC. Creative, artisanal libations might be perfect for the end of a perfect day.

Along those lines, below you can find “Two Cubes And A Slug of VO” from Ray Conrad’s album The Cotton-Pickin’ Lift Tower, a 60s collection of skiing songs available through SeniorsSkiing.com.  Click here to purchase and download the whole album.

Finally, Herb Stevens, the Skiing Weatherman, sums up the next week’s weather across North America.

Thanks again for reading SeniorsSkiing.com. Please tell your friends.  Remember, there are more of us every day and we aren’t going away.





  1. Thomas Rogers says:

    I love your site! Excellent info and articles. However, there is one thing that bugs me no end; when y’all refer to the “East” it is only New England! Your staff seems to be unaware that people who happen to live south of NY actually do ski ! Yes, here in North Carolina our season is not as long as some other areas, but we have some excellent skiing available within just a few hours drive.
    Come on down! The skiing is great!
    Thanks, Thomas Rogers

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Thanks for reading SeniorsSkiing.com. Please see recent Resort Review of Snowshoe Mt WV and book review of Southern Skiing. We’d love more correspondents in Dixie.

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