Connecticut saw its first snowfall of the season this past Sunday, a sign that skiing and snowboarding season is upon us. The crew at Mount Southington could not be more excited to see the snow and they might be ready to open the mountain this weekend.
Jay Dougherty, the general manager of Mt. Southington’s ski area, said they started their snow-making last week, and he anticipates being able to open up a limited number of trails by Saturday. Dougherty said Sunday’s snow fall did not have much to do with the decision.
“Here in Connecticut, we actually can’t really rely on natural snowfall,” Dougherty said. “Natural snow is more like a snowflake whereas the snow we make here is much more durable. The analogy I give everybody is that it is like taking two mason jars, and filling one of them with feathers and the other with BBs. Usually, about 12 inches of natural snow, once we run our grooming machine over it, compresses to about an inch of manmade snow.”
Dougherty said that he expects the temperatures to cooperate with snow making throughout the week, and he hopes to open at least five trails by Saturday. The 525-foot mountain holds 14 trails, including five beginner trails and nine that are intermediate or advanced. The mountain also has lights for night skiing and a terrain park.
Dougherty said that Mt. Southington is constantly improving their snow-making infrastructure for additional snow-making capacity and better snow quality. He said that the mountain is also adding 400 to 500 brand new junior skis to their rental options, as well as additional helmets.
“Our focus is always on young kids and families,” Dougherty said. “That is the type of ski area we are. It is an area where we can help people learn to ski. We always focus our programming on getting young kids to learn at an early age.”
The mountain offers classes every day of operation at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. The 90-minute session costs $45. They also offer one-hour private lessons for $125 and are scheduled by making an appointment.
Mt. Southington offers guests other options as well, including an introduction to alpine ski racing, which is an eight-week program that meets each Saturday in January and February.
It also offers a men’s and women’s ski program, which offers a morning on the slopes followed by lunch in the Red Barn. The men meet on Tuesday mornings while the women meet on Wednesdays.
Dougherty said the crew at Mt. Southington is ready to go and anxious for the season to start.
“The vibe around here right now is awesome,” Dougherty said. “Everyone is excited, especially with the recent snowfall. Hopefully it is a sign of good things to come in the season. My staff has been absolutely busy the last few weeks preparing. My sales staff is seeing good numbers and a lot of interest this year. We’re rolling out some new programs as well. Right now, we’re all working hard to open up our slopes here.”
For more information about prices, lessons, and programs, visit www.mountsouthington.com or call 860-628-0954.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.