LUDLOW, Vermont — As summer acquiesces to autumn, Okemo Mountain Resort staff members are already turning their thoughts to winter. Optimism for an especially snowy season is running high with everyone having their favorite forecasting folklore and weather indicators.
Okemo’s Cutting Edge Learning Center Director Dan Bergeron notes that he is seeing more mice making their way indoors this year ??вЂњ a sure sign that it’s going to be a cold and snowy winter.
Learning Center Snowboarding Manager Rob Bevier looks upward to the oak trees for his snow forecast. He looks for a heavy yield of acorns and says that this year looks like a bumper crop.
Okemo Mountain Resort owner Diane Mueller looks to her neighbor’s driveway snow sticks ??вЂњ the cut branches he pounds into the ground to mark the edges of the driveway for the snowplow. Mueller says, “the taller the snow stakes, the deeper the snow.”
Okemo Marketing Director Scott Clarkson is a bit more analytical. He has years of charts and graphs to review. His theory is that every fifth year brings record snowfall. If his calculations are correct, we’re in for it this winter.
Okemo’s new snowboard ambassador, halfpipe legend and Olympic medalist Ross Powers bases his snowfall predictions on the previous season’s precipitation. He says, “a dry summer with little to moderate rainfall means it’s going to be a snowy winter ahead.”
Events Coordinator Jeff Alexander notes the height of hornets’ nests, “When they build them high off the ground, the snow will be deep.”
Public Relations Director Bonnie MacPherson bases her snowfall predictions on the appearance of the wooly bear caterpillar. The larval stage of the tiger moth is a bristly black and brown caterpillar, often seen crossing roads and sidewalks in the fall. The width of its brown band is said to determine the severity of the winter ahead.
Many staff members cite the Farmer’s Almanac as the tried and true telltale. An article posted on farmersalmanac.com reads, “The famous Farmers’ Almanac long-range weather forecast is calling for a long, cold, snowy winter in areas east of the Mississippi River, with New England and the Upper Mid-Atlantic taking the brunt of Old Man Winter’s fury. While that may be disheartening for some, it’s great news for ski enthusiasts in the Northeast. Anyone who enjoys the low, rolling mountains of the Northeast knows there is no better skiing east of the Mississippi than in Vermont’s many unspoiled peaks. With heavy snow predicted for much of the season, and average temperatures up to 3 degrees colder than normal, Vermont, and nearby resorts in New Hampshire and Maine, will be the place to be this winter.”
Okemo’s Vice President of Mountain Operations Barry Tucker says the only thing he’s certain of when it comes to predicting the weather is that there is nothing certain about it. “I have faith in Mother Nature,” says Tucker. “I’m not going to predict what she’s going to do.” The thing he is “totally confident” about is that his crews won’t let a second of favorable weather conditions go by that they’re not taking full advantage of.
Regardless of the favored winter weather indicator or what Mother Nature has in store, Okemo Mountain Resort is a best bet for skiers and snowboarders this winter. With state-of-the-art snowmaking covering 97 percent of the mountain’s terrain and a 155 million gallon snowmaking reservoir, visitors to the popular south-central Vermont resort can expect Okemo to offer a superlative skiing and riding experience for all ability levels and budgets.
One sure sign of winter’s imminent arrival is the approaching deadline for savings on season passes. Season passes for the 2007/2008 ski season at Okemo Mountain Resort are currently available for purchase. With reduced, pre-season rates offered only until October 8, now is the time to purchase passes for the greatest savings on skiing and snowboarding at Okemo. Some season passes offer benefits including skiing at Okemo’s sister resorts Mount Sunapee, N.H. and Crested Butte, Colo. Okemo’s pass alliance with Vermont’s Stratton Mountain continues this year as well.
For more information about Okemo Mountain Resort, please call (800) 228-1600 or visit www.okemo.com.