Snow Factory at Powder Ridge Promises Black Friday Opening in 2025

Sunset corduroy

Imagine having the shortest ski season in the warmest state in New England as a resort owner. You have to rely on Mother Nature’s fickle moods to bless you with a dusting of snow, and even then it almost never arrives in time for the holiday season. What’s a guy to do? If you’re John Hayes, owner of Connecticut’s Powder Ridge, you buy a snow factory!

In an interview with the New England Ski Journal, Hayes describes the “can we open or can’t we” song and dance they have to go through every year that lead him to buy the DeMaclenko Snow Pro. He was not messing around with this purchase! The machine can pump out enough snow to cover a football field within 24 hours, in practically any weather, which allows the resort to plan for opening on Black Friday with confidence in 2025. 

Hayes also mentions that he doesn’t expect everyone who visits Powder Ridge to be a skier or boarder and recognizes that many folks come to shop, dine, or go tubing. The snow factory allows for a longer season for everyone in the family to enjoy the resort. Although Hayes expects that in the next five years 70% of ski resorts will have similar machines supplementing their snow totals, he believes they are a feeder resort, saying, “We don’t want to compete with the northern ski areas. They’re our complement. We want our customers going to destination resorts after we teach them how (to ski).”

So, if you're looking for a guaranteed dose of winter fun this year, skip the weather app and head to Powder Ridge. With their million-dollar snow machine working overtime, there’s always corduroy in Connecticut.

Skiers and snowboarders ride down a grassy hill partially covered in thick snowA snow cannon blows fresh snow onto a ski area at night

 

 

 

 

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Til Death Cookies Do Us Part - Weddings and Vow Renewals on V-Day at Mount Snow

Cloud Nine Nuptials

If you’re looking for a unique, adventurous, but still incredibly romantic wedding or vow renewal, look no further than Mount Snow’s Cloud Nine Nuptials event on Valentine’s Day, 2/14! 

Gather with your fellow lovebirds for a ride to the top of the mountain where a winter wonderland awaits. Exchange vows in front of a Justice of the Peace amongst the swirling snowflakes and mountain magic. Let the slopes become your aisle as you ski or board back down the Cloud Nine trail with cheers of joy all around!

Friends and family are welcome, so nobody has to miss out on this core memory, but they must have a valid lift ticket or season pass and be comfortable with intermediate terrain (blue trails). Afterwards, meet in the Summit Lodge for cake and coffee!

Be sure to register for this FREE event before the deadline at 11:45 pm Eastern Time on 2/13. Check out the schedule from the event page here:

Event Schedule: 

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. - Meet at the bottom of Sunbrook Express quad to check in and take a ride up the chair as a group and gather at the top of Cloud Nine

10:15 a.m. - Ceremony begins at the top of Cloud Nine

After ceremony is complete, we'll conclude by taking a celebratory run down Cloud Nine, then meeting in the Summit Lodge for cake and coffee!

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Celestial Spectacle - 4/8/24 Solar Eclipse Visible from New England Peaks!

Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash

Mark your calendars and secure your special glasses! Mountain Resorts throughout the Northeast will be the perfect place for what could be a once in a lifetime event for most folks:a solar eclipse! Imagine shredding down a gorgeous snow-covered slope, then counting down the minutes to when an eerie twilight sweeps across the land, the temperature drops, and a hush falls. For up to 3 minutes and 15 seconds you'll be in another world! If you choose a peak outside the path of direct totality you can still witness a partial eclipse where the sun's corona will peek around the silhouette of the moon. Just remember to protect your eyesight and never look directly at the eclipse, Use eclipse glasses, indirect viewing, or even a pinhole projector. Keep in mind that different viewing locations will experience direct totality for different lengths of time depending on their placement in the path.

Here are a few of your best options to see it all go down:

Direct Totality:

Near Totality:

 

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Skijoring - When Cross Country Just Isn’t Fast Enough!

Main Street Skowhegan/Jonathan Wheaton Photography

Do you have fomo over the sick outfits and full send vibes coming out of Skijoring events at Snow Days in Banff, Canada this month too? I know I do, and needed to find the Northeast USA equivalent ASAP. 

You may be asking: What the heck is Skijoring? A Norwegian word meaning “ski driving”, it’s essentially a person on skis being pulled by an animal or vehicle. You can even train your dog to do it! Gunstock Mountain in New Hampshire offers dog Skijoring lessons, and includes the needed equipment (just dress yourself and your pup appropriately). 

If you’re looking for Skijoring with horses, you should check out Somerset SnowFest in Maine for Skijor Skowhegan, Maine’s first equestrian Skijoring competition on February 24th! Horses with riders will race against the clock for the fastest time pulling their skier or snowboarder down a 1,000-foot groomed track filled with gates, rings, and even jumps. There will be separate divisions for skiers and boarders, and there’s still time to enter! If you need a partner you can check out the Skijor Maine Facebook group and find your other half.

If you’re just hoping to be a spectator, have no fear, there will be seating and a concession stand with hot food and drinks. Parking is $10, and leashed dogs are welcome. Dress warmly for this outdoor event, and consider bringing something to sit on since the bleachers are aluminum. 

 

 

 

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Safety Awareness Month at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain

Shredding Safely at Pico Mountain

January at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain isn't just about carving fresh powder and basking in sunshine – it's about embracing slope safety and cultivating a responsible, respectful mountain community. Throughout the month, Killington/Pico teams up with the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) to champion a variety of initiatives under the #RideAnotherDay banner, aiming to equip skiers and riders with the knowledge and tools to navigate the slopes confidently and safely.

One key focus is The Snow Angel Foundation, an organization dedicated to preventing spinal cord injuries through education and awareness. Your Responsibility Code, updated this year with even more emphasis on courtesy and shared responsibility, guides your decisions on the mountain. Park Smart empowers riders to navigate terrain parks with skill and respect, while Uphill touring etiquette and safety ensures peaceful coexistence between uphill travelers and downhill skiers. Even the littlest ones get involved with Kids on Lifts, a program fostering safe and fun first chairlift experiences.

But it's not just about education. Killington/Pico partners with Mammut to offer special promotions for safety-conscious skiers and riders, accessible through on-hill activations throughout the month. This collaboration reinforces the value of responsible behavior and rewards those who prioritize it.

By encouraging awareness and responsibility across these programs, Killington/Pico hopes to empower guests to make their best decisions on the hill, creating a more enjoyable environment for everyone. In support of this mission, the resort will also make a Play Forever donation to the Snow Angel Foundation in recognition of their dedication to the #RideAnotherDay campaign.

So, this January, join Killington/Pico in embracing the spirit of #RideAnotherDay. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a fresh-faced beginner, take advantage of the educational opportunities, explore Mammut's safety-focused promotions, and contribute to a community where courtesy, respect, and responsible decisions reign supreme. Let's make this winter season not just about the thrill of the ride, but about riding another day, together.

 

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Snow Ridge Makes Epic Comeback from EF3 Tornado

Snowboarder at Snow Ridge's Opening Weekend - photo credit to Snow Ridge's Facebook

Ready for a classic comeback story to warm your heart this winter? Snow Ridge Ski Resort is the one! 

Summer of 2023 brought devastation to the Turin, NY mountain with a 140mph tornado that snapped lift cables, overturned buildings, and scarred the landscape with trees snapped off at the roots. All three lifts were damaged, their Piston Bully 200 snowcat sported a tree through the cab, not to mention property wide wind damage. The community rallied together for several clean up days and fundraisers to get them going, and the Snow Ridge crews spent the past six months pouring their effort into restoring the mountain.

This winter has already seen their triumphant reopening! The first lake-effect snow storm is in the books(30in!), and the snow guns have been blasting as much as possible. There’s still a little work to do, but the December update from General Manager Nick Mir shared that the last lift is expected to be repaired this month. “You know, everyone wants to get back out on their skiers and snowboarders and, that includes myself and my family as well. We’re skiers at heart. So, I’m ready to get on the snow and I know everyone else is, too.” said Mir in a quote to ABC50 Now’s Isabella Colello.

Snow Ridge will be open on 1/10&1/11 from 10am to 9pm, 1/12 9am to 3pm, and 1/13 9am to 4pm. Check their website, snowridge.com, for current hours and updates throughout the season.

 

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KaBoom X Freestyle Snowmobile Show at Tenney Mountain Jan 5th&6th!

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Tenney Mountain is a winter wonderland in the heart of New Hampshire, but only a 2 hour drive from Boston. 184 acres, 1,650 vertical feet for skiing and riding, and 3 lifts servicing 47 trails await! This family-friendly outdoor haven has everything from beginner runs to black diamonds, not to mention lots of events coming up for everyone to enjoy. Next up? KaBoom X Freestyle Snowmobile Big Air Show! 

If you love the X Games but haven’t had the opportunity to see them in person, this is your chance! This is a unique show to New England that pushes FMX bikes and the trusty snow machines you see in the woods at home to the absolute brink. Feel the roar of the engines as the daredevil riders spray snow and achieve 75-90 ft long and 35-45 ft high jumps, and try to keep your jaw off the floor when the flips start!

Presented by Pacifico and supported by Tenney Mountain and Pepsi, this is bound to be one for the books, so make sure you don’t miss out. Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment! Tickets are $20 per person, but kids age 12 and under go free. There are two chances to see the show, Friday and Saturday, January 5th&6th, with gates opening at 5:30 pm and the show starting at 7 pm, with a bonus meet and greet from 8:30-9 pm. Tenney recommends that you carpool if you can, since parking is free, but limited, since the show is selling out fast. 

 

 

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Hitting the Slopes For All - Sugarbush Embraces Inclusion

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Sugarbush Resort in Warren, VT has shared an update on inclusion initiatives in hopes of getting everyone out on the mountain! Representative Corrine Chiarchiaro writes, “We understand the importance of community. That’s why we partner with local academic institutions as well as other organizational partners, like the Vermont Women’s Fund, the Mad River Valley Rotary and so many more. To help others get out and enjoy everything that Vermont and the ski and ride industry as a whole have to offer.” She goes on to feature eleven of their philanthropic partners, of which there are more every season!

 Their partners span a variety of specialties, like education, sustainability, and physical accessibility. Nationally recognized organization Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports offers specialized equipment and a wide variety of program options out of facilities at Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen. Their goal is to “empower people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of the ability to pay” according to their homepage, VermontAdaptive.org. Another partner, Mad River Valley Arts, is dedicated to creating connections with our environment and building community through art. “We operate with the understanding that art supports the agency to create story, a sense of belonging, and is a means to synchronize ourselves with the natural world.” They are supported by Sugarbush through philanthropic donations from their Be Better Here Fund.

Donation to Mad River Valley Arts - photo from Sugarbush's SugarBlog

Donation to Mad River Valley Arts - photo from Sugarbush's SugarBlog

Winter sports can sometimes feel like a far-off dream for many, so it’s great to see resorts like Sugarbush reaching out to folks who may not have otherwise had an opportunity. Read more about their partnerships here: Community Partners.

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Maine Mountains Dodge “The Grinch”, Aim for Quick Reopening

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Mountains throughout the northeast were drenched this week during a storm that swept up the coast from Sunday through Tuesday. The first nor’easter of the winter has been nicknamed “The Grinch” in Saddleback’s 12/19 Daily Report, but rest assured: they won’t be allowing it to steal Christmas! Despite severe road damage, flooding, and some infrastructure needing repair, Saddleback, Sugarloaf, and Sunday River plan to be making fresh snow by mid-week and will reopen as soon as it’s safe.

Maine’s largest ski resort, Sugarloaf, released an update today with their projected reopening being Thursday, 12/21, stating, “Skiers and riders will look forward to our core trails off the Super Quad (potentially more) after patrol does their onsite assessment tomorrow and our groomers work their magic. Snowmaking will resume tonight on Tote as we look to resurface key areas around the mountain and pick up where we left off. We're feeling good and breathing a huge sigh of relief. Things could have been worse - a lot worse - and thankfully we've come out on top.”

 

12/19 Operations Update from Sugarloaf’s Facebook page.

It appears that Sunday River also hopes to reopen as soon as they can, but they are still “actively assessing roads, trails, and systems in the aftermath of five inches of rain received in a short period of time.” Damage to access roads has been severe, but there are still teams working tirelessly to rebuild. Their social media comment sections are filled with love and support for this community favorite, as hopes for the rest of the season remain high.

Keep an eye on SnoCountry.com to stay up to date on all mountain openings as the situation in Maine is resolved!

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Something for Everyone this Winter with L.L.Bean’s Winter in New England Series

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Hey adventurers, the snow is falling, and the mountains are calling! But with so many options opening up, where do you start? Don't worry, L.L.Bean has your back this winter with epic deals, awesome events, and "wicked easy fun" at several mountains across Maine and Massachusetts. The Winter in New England series starts December 30th, 2023, and runs through March 31st, 2024.

Shred the Slopes with these Deals:

SKI MAINE:

Lost Valley, Auburn, ME: Every Tuesday, score $19.12 lift tickets and carve up the slopes from 3-8pm (Jan. 2-Mar. 5).

Mt. Abram, Greenwood, ME: Get $35 lift tickets Thursday-Sunday, and $5 skinning passes on Saturdays and Sundays (Dec. 30-Mar. 24).

Black Mountain, Rumford, ME: Shred the gnar on Thursdays for $25, Fridays for $35, and Sundays for $45. Skinning passes are also available on Thursdays and Fridays for just $5 (Jan. 4-Mar. 31).

BigRock Mountain, Mars Hill, ME: Every Thursday, rock the slopes with $15 lift tickets and $10 rental packages from 1-7 p.m. (Jan. 4-Mar. 28).

SKI MASSACHUSETTS:

Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, MA: Enjoy $25 lift tickets every Friday and conquer the slopes from 9am-4pm (Jan. 5-Mar. 29).

Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Charlemont, MA: Enjoy the night with $25 lift tickets every Saturday from 4-9pm (Jan. 6-Mar. 30).

Wachusett Mountain, Westminster, MA: Bring a friend and enjoy a double-session lift ticket for you and a lift ticket, lesson, and rental package for your friend for just $149! Sessions run from 9am-4pm, 12:30-7pm, and 4-9:30pm (Jan. 2-Mar. 19).

Adventure awaits beyond the slopes too:

  • Black Mountain, Rumford, ME: Explore the snowy wonderland with free snowshoe trail passes and rentals every Thursday-Sunday (while supplies last). Cross-country skiing is also free on Thursdays and Fridays (Jan. 4-Mar. 31).
  • Lee Twombly Pond Skating, Falmouth, ME: Hone your skills with free ice-skating lessons every Wednesday from 6:15-7pm. Enjoy free Open Skate Night Wednesdays from 5-9pm, complete with music, games, and sweet treats (Dec. 13-Feb. 28).
  • Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, MA: Slide into winter fun with night tubing every Friday for just $25 (4-6pm or 6-8pm) (Jan. 5-Mar. 15).

Last, but not least: Free s’mores! Free ski-up s’more shacks will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 2-4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-3 p.m. at select Massachusetts locations. Wachusett starting January 2nd, Butternut starting January 5th, and Berkshire East Mountain Resort starting January 6th.

Not a winter sports enthusiast? No worries! L.L.Bean is offering free admission to the Portland Museum of Art every Friday from 4-8pm (no ticket required). Immerse yourself in art and culture while staying warm and cozy. 



 

 

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