Outdoor recreation industry deals with unpredictable spring

WARREN, Vt. (WCAX) – It’s a classic March in New England. One day it’s snowy

WARREN, Vt. (WCAX) – It’s a classic March in New England. One day it’s snowy and in the 30s and another day it’s sunny and 70.

It has the outdoor recreation industry on its toes.

Early warm weather has some people flocking to the mountain to get a few extra runs in, while others are washing off their bikes hoping to hit the trails early.

“I gave up trying to control the weather quite a while ago,” said John Hammond, the president of Sugarbush Resort.

Hammond says spring can be tricky from year to year.

“We’ve got good history and sort of a strong track record in making snow, so we know the amount we need to get us into May,” said Hammond.

But the occasional warmup keeps them on their toes.

Hammond says if the temperatures drop just a little, spring skiing will continue to be ideal and the season will still end on time.

“The skiing has been great. We have had great spring conditions,” said Hammond.

But Hammond knows spring fever will have people thinking about what’s next, so they look ahead to summer maintenance, their golf course and biking.

“Bikes in the garage start to look at them a little funny, or golf clubs or boats, whatever their other passion might be in the off-season,” said Hammond.

“We’re not ever surprised by the weather, but this year things are drying out a lot earlier than usual,” said Lilias Ide, with the Kingdom Trails Association.

She says this time of year can be a bit tricky for them.

“It can be a little frustrating, but what we try to do is just be ready,” said Ide.

They are at the point in the year where they shut the trails down after winter activities and wait for clean conditions to open for summer.

The problem is that window of wait time can hang around because of the weather.

“So it’s kind of like a hurry up and wait situation,” said Ide.

While it’s frustrating for them, Ide says it’s for the better of the network.

“The ground and that surface gets muddy and mucky. So if anyone travels on that, whether it’s a boot or a tire or anything, it will leave these deep impressions, it will stay in there all season. It’s hard to remedy and we really want to take care of that natural resource. The trails are a really great use of our northern forest that are these sustainable and renewable resources,” said Ide.

But in the meantime, they do increase staff from nine people to 30 for the summer, and now they can spend time grooming the trails and prepping the summer network.

Ide says in Vermont, you never know what could happen tomorrow.

“Is there ever really a normal Vermont winter,” said Ide.

Kingdom Trails says they are eager, like everyone, to get outside some more.

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