With enough snow to last until May, ski resorts consider extending season

  • A snowboarder carves through some powder at WIldcat Mountain on Friday, March 22, 2019, after the northern part of New Hampshire received several inches of snow last week. Wildcat Mountain—Courtesy

  • Places like WIldcat Mountain in the northern part of the state will stay open through April.

  • Some mountains, like Loon Mountain Resort, typically close around mid-April to close out the ski season. Loon Mountain Resort—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 3/27/2019 2:56:48 PM

Last week’s snow and continued cold temperatures in the North Country seems like good news for skiers looking to take a few more turns this spring.

Yet only a few resorts have extended the season, with most areas still planning to shut down at their normal closing dates, some as soon as this weekend, representatives said.

Given the unpredictability of spring weather, hopes of a longer season can be realized or lost in a matter of days. In the northern tip of the state, where the snowpack is still in mid-winter form, the ski season might not end until the month of May.

Wildcat Mountain, in Pinkham Notch, likes to say it stays open longer than any other New Hampshire mountain. Spokesperson Nate Ramsbottom said the mountain has closed on April 26 the last two years and is looking to beat it this year.

“Every year we try to make it until May. Sometimes it even happens! ... If skiers and riders are capable of getting from the top of the mountain to the bottom on snow, we’ll spin the lift,” Ramsbottom said in an email.

Other mountains are hoping to extend, but it’s all dependant on the weather.

“We have set a closing date of April 14, but we wrote this down in pencil as we believe we have enough snow to run weekends after the 14th,” Joe Russo of Black Mountain, a Jackson ski spot, said in an email. “The season started on November 30th and we typically close April 1st(ish), but in past years we were open two weeks into April, and other years we made to the end of March.”

Cranmore Mountain in North Conway also plans to extend its season into April, although just on the weekends, said marketing director Becca Deschenes.

“Thanks to above average snowfall and snowmaking efforts this season, we continue to have a majority of our terrain open with mid-winter ski conditions,” Deschenes announced.

Waterville Valley traditionally closes after the first Sunday in April. That’s the plan this year, but communications manager Stacie Sullivan said they may reopen the following weekend. She said they’ll make that determination next week.

Similarly, Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch is also toying with opening the weekend after its traditional closing date of April 15.

Some are sticking to their planned closing dates.

Mount Sunapee and Gunstock will be closing on April 7. Bretton Woods is sticking to its traditional closing date of April 15.

For others, this weekend will be the last hurrah. King Pines and Pats Peak both plan to close this Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, the state had seen about 43 inches of snow by the end of February. The northern part of the state saw anywhere from 6 to 13 inches of snow last week.

Here’s a list of the last day to ski at various New Hampshire mountains, which is subject to change:

■Black Mountain: April 14, two weeks past normal closing date

■Bretton Woods: April 15, normal closing date

■Cranmore Mountain: April weekends, past normal closing date

■Cannon Mountain: April 15, normal closing date; may expand dates depending on weather

■Gunstock: April 7, normal closing date

■King Pine: March 31, normal closing date

■Loon Mountain: April 14, normal closing date

■Pats Peak: March 31, normal closing date

■Ragged Mountain: April 7, normal closing date

■Waterville Valley: April 8, normal closing date; may expand dates depending on weather

■Wildcat Mountain: April 26, normal closing date for last two years

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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