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Warm Temperatures Wrap-Up Ski Season in Northeast

Ski season comes to an end from West Virginia to some parts of the Northeast on Sunday.

Ragged Mountain, N.H., had a great ski season. Stacy Lopes, the marketing manager of Ragged Mountain said March was the snowiest month of winter for the mountain.

"Unlike the past two seasons, where the visits pretty much tapered off mid-March, we've held our momentum straight through until the end," she said.

Concord, N.H., has received 173 percent more snow this season compared to last. With 48.0 inches of snow recorded last winter compared to 83.1 inches recorded this winter, Senior Meteorologist, Dave Samuhel said. The normal amount of snowfall for Concord is 58.7 inches.

"Due to all of the natural snow, glade trails, that require natural snow, have been open this season," Loper said.

Ragged Mountain is expected to close April 7 this year, compared to the March 18 close date they had last year.

"For us, we are ending on a high-note," Lopes said.

SugarLoaf Mountain, a ski resort in Maine has also, witnessed a much better ski season this year compared to last. SugarLoaf Mountain hopes to ski through mid-May. Skiing into May has been relatively normal for the resort for the past 10 years.

"We have a ton of snow," Ethan Austin, communications manager for SugarLoaf said.

As of April 5, SugarLoaf had 1,102 skiable acres with 150 trails open, according to the ski resort's website.

With mid-March snow storms contributing to the stockpile of snow from the entire season, the snow SugarLoaf has received all season is sticking around. As of April 5, Augusta, Maine had 78.4 inches of snow. This is above Augusta's normal snow total of 67.9 inches.

"The big thing is that we [SugarLoaf] have never had a big thawing event or heavy rain and the temperatures haven't warmed up yet," Austin said. Senior Meteorologist, Samuhel said that Augusta, Maine received 163 percent more snow this season compared to last. Last winter a total of 48.2 inches was recorded compared to this seasons 78.4 inches, as of April 5.

Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia matched their earliest opening date in 10 years, due to the snow they received from Hurricane Sandy, according to David Dekema, the director of marketing for Snowshoe.

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Snow is in abundance at Snowshoe this season compared to last, with 98 percent of their terrain open.

Snowshoe intended to end their ski season on March 31, but due to an additional 5 feet of snow in the month of March alone, Snowshoe will close for the season on April 7, according to Dekema.

Tussey Mountain All Seasons in Pennsylvania has appreciated a much snowier season as well. Last year, Tussey was forced to close February 29 due to a lack of snow. They were predicting to stay open until March 17 this year. With added snowfall throughout March, Tussey Mountain All Seasons skied until March 31, according to Sue Matalavage, the office manager for Tussey Mountain.

"I've been here for 26 seasons, skiing until the end of March might have happened twice," Matalavage said.

This year the complete mountain was open, compared to last year when only half of the mountain was open. The Shamokin Trail, which can only be opened when there is enough natural snow, made a debut this season after it was closed all of last winter.

State College, Pa., has seen a 229 percent increase in snow this winter compared to last winter, with 19.0 inches of snow reported compared to this winter with 43.6 inches of snow, Samuhel said. The normal snowfall for State College is about 45 inches.

Although Tussey Mountain All Seasons has seen a significantly snowier winter, Hoffman said the winters still are not the same as in the past. Hoffman said it seems like there is a much milder winter pattern. He said he can remember a time when Tussey used to open before the holiday season, and now they are lucky if that happens.

Despite the increase in snow totals from this season compared to last, warmer temperatures will start to win out as the month progresses. Below are average high temperatures for the month of April and the forecasted average high temperatures for Sunday, April 7.

City Average Temp. Forecasted Temp.
Concord 52 59
Augusta 48 50
Elkins 53 66
State College 55 60 Meteorologist Jack Boston says this could be due to an 11-year solar cycle that just came to an end.

The winter of 2012 was one of the warmest winters on record for many parts of the country. Every 11 years the Earth goes through a cycle of warmer winters, because of sun spot activity. This is because the sun gives off more energy, Boston said.

"Last winter was extraordinary because of abovenormal temperatures by 5-12 degrees from the Rockies to the East Coast," he said.

A less active pattern of storms was seen throughout last winter. This is because of a zonal pattern of the jet stream. A zonal pattern means that the jet stream ran straight east to west, instead of dipping down from the arctic, bringing cold air throughout the United States, according to Boston.

"This season we have seen a much colder and stormier track, favorable for the Northeast," Boston said.