Most Northeast resorts enjoyed one of the very best Januaries in history, with sustained cold, mostly good weather, and several snowstorms.
These included a four-day storm that hit the entire region Dec. 31 through Jan. 3, dropping several feet of snow across northern New England, including a record 33 inches at Burlington, Vt.
The warm, torrential rains that moved in Sunday evening and lasted through daylight Monday soaked the snowpack across the region. Bitter temperatures that will move into New England starting Tuesday night will turn that soaked snow into a very firm trail cover, requiring steady work from snowmakers and groomers to restore the skiing surface.
It's not something that happens overnight at most areas, so skiers and riders should sharpen their edges and keep their wits about them this week and into the weekend.
The region's enormous snowmaking capacity and grooming technology are already at work on conditions.
Few operators resent the change in weather, coming as it does on the heels of a fabulous month.
"We've had a great month and a great MLK weekend, so we'll take a rainy Monday," one said.
Many resorts in the Northeast reported record skier and rider traffic over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association, said, "The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend has given a huge boost to the Maine ski industry ... Across the state, from the Camden Snow Bowl, to Shawnee Peak, to the village at the base of Sugarloaf, areas reported full parking lots, busy base lodges, and new skiers and riders taking lessons.
Saddleback reported setting an all time attendance record for the holiday and Jeff Kuller, GM at the Camden Snow Bowl reported his biggest weekend since he became GM six years ago.
Lost Valley rented out its entire stock of skis and snowboards. Sugarloaf posted a 93 percent occupancy rate for a two-day period.
Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt., recorded its best MLK Jr. holiday weekend since 2002. The resort saw 23 percent more skiers and riders compared to the same holiday weekend last year and was 16 percent ahead of projections for the week.
Okemo's Bonnie MacPherson said that when season pass sales are factored in, it was the resort's best-ever MLK weekend.
"For the first time since 2004, the weather forecast for the MLK weekend was positive," said Okemo VP of Marketing Scott Clarkson. "Snow conditions and temperatures were ideal: 20s to 30s all three weekend days, with 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow falling Sunday night to greet Monday's skiers and riders."
Tom Meyers of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Mass. said the area saw full lots from Friday through Monday.
"Saturday and Sunday were two of the strongest back-to-back day-night combinations the mountain has ever seen," Meyers said.
Hunter Mountain in Hunter, N.Y., reported one of its busiest MLK holidays in recent years.