It was 65 degrees in Vermont on Tuesday afternoon.
Clearly, Killington Mountain Resort will not be opening for the season on Saturday.
When Killington originally announced Nov. 14 as its hopeful opening date back in September, it was in anticipation of actually pushing the start of the season back a few weeks. With the need for social distancing a factor this season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional race between the Vermont resort and Maine’s Sunday River to open a limited strip of snow was seen as a risky venture. Rather, both resorts figured, it was more responsible to wait until the mountains could be opened top-to-bottom, providing plenty of room for returning skiers and riders to create space for themselves and their families.
So, with no World Cup to prepare for this year, Killington set a realistic mid-November date to open.
Then, this dreadful, November heat wave happened, trapping the New England ski season in its unwelcome, warm embrace.
It’s no surprise then that, on Monday, Killington officially pushed back the start of the 2020 season.
“Temps here in Killington hovered in the 60s and 70s this weekend and will remain high through the week meaning snowmaking is on hold,” the resort posted on social media earlier this week. “At this time, it’s hard to anticipate when Opening Day will be because unlike past years, we need top-to-bottom terrain with access to multiple base lifts before we can spin lifts for 𝘴𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 distanced skiing and riding. The team is monitoring the extended forecast with plans to make snow whenever temps allow.”
Killington was not the only resort to officially push back its opening date. Vail Resorts had originally announced that Wildcat Mountain would open on Nov. 13, but that date has been officially postponed to Nov. 20, the same date as the resort conglomerate hopes to open Stowe Mountain Resort and Mount Snow.
The good news is that temperature do look to get more seasonable next week (a high of 39 degrees in Burlington, Vt. next Tuesday) which should provide better snowmaking conditions. That should help a handful of resorts in their hopes to open in time for Thanksgiving weekend. But in this season, peppered with rules and regulations under the pandemic umbrella, there isn’t going to be a rush if the situation warns against it.
Every ski area’s overall objective this winter is to open and stay open for the season. If that takes sacrificing some early season visits in order to lay down the safety provisions, then that may be the cost.
It would also help if it weren’t darned near 80 degrees in November as well, but…