An early cold spell is helping Mount Southington and Powder Ridge ski areas extend their seasons.
Mount Southington has already used snowmaking machines it purchased last year and opened its slopes to skiers the past two weekends. Regular hours for the season start today.
“Our first day was two weeks earlier than the last two season,” said Brian McCloskey, Mount Southington office manager.
Temperatures have to be 28 degrees or lower for good operation of the snowmaking machines. McCloskey said the humidity also must be low to produce good snow for skiing.
“The dryer air gives us more snow,” he said.
While Mount Southington was open Dec. 1, wet weather the following day closed the ski area. It re-opened the following weekend. When it’s wet, the resort can’t use the snow grooming machines that keep the slopes smooth.
McCloskey was pleased with the turnout this past weekend.
“This weekend was great. We had good weather, it was sunny and wasn’t too cold,” he said.
The resort bought new snowmaking equipment last year.
“We’re able to crank out the snow,” McCloskey said.
Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield also opened on the first weekend in December.
Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said temperatures in November and so far this month have been below normal. The trend is expected to continue into next year.
“We had our one big snowstorm on the 15th” of November. “By and large the temperatures have been below normal since then,” Lessor said. “By and large decent weather for snow making.”
A “reinforcing shot of cold air” is expected to keep temperatures down until the weekend, he said.
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