Warmer winters a concerning trend for one of Vermont’s keystone industries– skiing

Vermont’s winters have warmed an average of about 5-6 degrees since 1970. It’s a concerning trend for one of Vermont’s keystone industries– skiing.

The snowmakers say volatile weather patterns of fluctuating temperatures, rain events and high humidity over the last few decades throw a wrench into ski resort operations.

According to weather records, we see roughly the same amount of snow annually but it doesn’t stick around.

“Snowmaking is really a sustainability tool that allows ski resorts to open on time and operate through the season,” said Molly Mahar of Ski Vermont.

Mahar says as winters warm, Vermont is already leaning on snowmaking as a crutch to open trails early in the year and keep them open.

The weather before Christmas was a great example– warm temperatures and rain closed about 20% of open terrain statewide on Christmas Eve, but by the turn of the new week, many resorts were able to reopen what was lost and then some thanks to freezing temperatures.