Thanks to a storm that dumped piles of snow on northern New England, skiers and snowboarders who head up to the mountains this weekend will find peak conditions.
A strong storm moved into Maine Sunday afternoon and brought heavy snow to the area, said meteorologist Tom Hawley from the National Weather Service station in Gray.
Andover, Maine got 23 inches of snow, Eustis saw 18, and Flagstaff was hit with 17, Hawley said. Andover is two hours north of Portland which got just under an inch of snow.
“There is still some snow falling up in Northern Maine,” he said.
And more white stuff is on the way. A system that will produce rain in most areas across New England Friday will likely cause snow and sleet in the mountains, he said.
“I’m sure skiing conditions will be pretty nice this weekend,” Hawley said.
Staff at the Saddleback Maine ski resort in Rangeley said the weather has been great for skiers.
Nearly 30 inches of snow fell on the mountain since Sunday, said JoAnne Taylor, marketing director of the resort.
High winds Monday and Tuesday deterred many winter athletes from hitting the slopes, but the lifts were crowded Wednesday, she said.
“Today’s really the first day that everyone’s getting out on the powder,” Taylor said. “With the snow continuing to fall, it keeps that powder fresh.”
Taylor said that when other ski locations get hit with rain or slush, Saddleback usually gets snow thanks to its 4,120-foot elevation.
“The reports I’m getting from people coming in off the hill is that the snow is wonderful,” she said. “The higher up the mountain you go, the colder it gets, so it stays nice and lighter.”
Taylor, a skier, hasn’t been able to get out on the mountain yet this week, but plans to get her fix soon, as Saddleback should get a few more inches of snow by Friday, she said.
”We’re ready for an unbelievable ski weekend,” Taylor said. “The elevation makes a big difference with snow conditions.”
Things are also going well this season at the Sunday River ski resort in Newry.
“More and more trails have been opening and things look good,” said Stephen Penney, an employee at the resort.
Penney, who has been a snowboarder for 12 years, said this week’s snow has been slushy.
The mountain has a summit of 3,140 feet.
“The past few days we’ve had a good amount of snow, but it’s been like slushy snow,” he said.
“Snowboarders can deal with the slush, but based on the weather reports, that should be clearing up.”
Penney hopes the ideal, powdery snow is on its way.
“If the weather can do the work for us, then that’s even better,” he said.
Meteorologist Charlie Foley with the National Weather Service station in Taunton said that the mountains in Maine will “get a good dump of snow” before the weekend.
“They’re going to be very happy with that,” he said. “And with all those new Christmas skies, they’ll be all set.”