Skiing Outlook for Connecticut: 2016-17

By: Sam Kantrow, WTNH Meteorologist

(WTNH) — The parking lots and ski areas in Connecticut are pretty desolate right now, populated mostly by a few administrative and maintenance staff, which is what we saw for all too much of last winter, when we saw record-breaking warmth in November and December. However, things are looking up this year, with Mother Nature being more cooperative and providing us with temperatures far more conducive to snow making.

“Well, last winter, if you could call it a winter, was depressing for all of us in the ski industry,” says Mike Kurys, Director of Operations at Powder Ridge Ski Resort in Middlefield.

Having already seen some chilly temperatures this season, with colder temperatures forecast for the next ten days, Kurys says the ski industry is “very excited” about the upcoming ski season.

The excitement is ahead of the likelihood of many more days hitting the slopes this year compared to last year’s “ski season that wasn’t”. Temperatures over the next week are expected to dip down into the teens in many locations across Connecticut. So, is this good enough for the ski season to start off with a bang?

“Twenty-eight degrees is the ideal temperature, as long as conditions are really dry,” said Kurys, who adds that if the temperatures are up in the thirties, or if the humidity is too high, the snow making machines pretty much just rain or dump a poor quality snow on the slopes, which is a big part of the reason last year’s ski season was so short.

But, some other good news for this year’s ski season is that resorts like Powder Ridge spent a lot of money on new snow making equipment this past summer, and with the cold forecast ahead, the operations staff is really excited about the opportunity to put their new toys to work turning grassy slopes into a winter wonderland of fresh powder.

So, when will resorts open for skiing this year?

“We’re aiming for Christmas, but if Mother Nature helps us out a little bit and we really do get these cold temperatures, [it’s possible] we could open earlier than Christmas this year,” said an excited Kurys.

While this cold weather is certainly not all that appealing to many of us, it’s looking quite likely that the desolate ski resorts will become bustling slopes loaded with skiers, snowboarders, and many other winter merrymakers sooner, rather than later this year.

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