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Some Like it Hot

By Kyle Mecham
On March 22, 2012


Right when the thought of some extra snow entered the mind, spring slams through the door wearing swim trunks and sipping a cool martini.

For Burke Mountain, after a short, warm winter sporting a brand new high speed quad, this left much to be desired.

"Now we're just looking at it day by day," said Burke Mountain Manager Dick Andross on Sunday. "There's just no way to tell if it will really be as hot as they predict."

That Sunday the 18th of March was the beginning of an enormous heat wave that spread across the northern east coast. The high that day was 77 degrees, breaking the previous record of 66 degrees set in 1927. The record-breaking didn't stop there. Monday the 19th was 74 degrees, breaking the previous record of 61 degrees set in 1968. Tuesday, the official first day of spring, was 77 degrees, breaking the previous record of 61 degrees set in 1976.  Wednesday and Thursday were both a smoldering 81 degrees at the mountain, which broke the old record highs of 67 and 69 degrees set in 1946. So many record highs in a row has not happened in East Burke in the month of March within the past half century, making it the longest March heat wave to hit the town in over 50 years.

Hannah Collins, Burke Mountain Marketing Head, said Thursday night's weather would be the deciding factor for whether or not Burke would remain open through the weekend. "We can't control the weather," she said, "but we can do what we can with the snow to try to stay open as long as possible."

"We are going to try to have the pond skim event on March 31 after closing down the mountain for the week and hoping for the temperatures to get below freezing. That makes the snow manageable enough to build the setup."

As managers at Burke Mountain grit their teeth and cross their fingers, customers don't seem to mind the weather at all.

"It's way awesome to have this much of a base to start the spring skiing," beamed skier and LSC student Joey Croft. "Day after day of short sleeves and soft turns! It doesn't get better than that."

When cruising down some patchy business with some buddies, there were nothing but smiles.

"The hardest part is stopping," proclaimed Drew O'Brien, LSC Senior. "The ride down is unreal. As soon as I stop it all catches up and I'm sweating again."

"I can't see us staying open for long," said lift operator Durwood Legacy, "But I'll tell you what, the skiing is different and I don't mind it. I was jumping grass spots yesterday!"

With the spirits high and the season drawing to a close, it leaves you wondering: Was it really all that bad of a winter?


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