OK, no chortlin' from those of you in the West rolling to your mountains into sunny skies and temperatures from the 30s into the 70s. But, then, you've paid your dues, haven't you?
Those of you reading this in the Midwest and East will have phenomenal skiing and snowboarding, but bundle up well and make (very) hot chocolate your beverage of choice at least for the start of the weekend. Thom Perkins of the famed Jackson Village Ski Touring Foundation told OnTheSnow.com's Roger Leo "hot chocolate was cited in SkiTrax magazine as the perfect recovery drink from a hard ski."
"It's winter for sure here in Jackson Village (N.H.) The thermometer showed well below 0 degrees Friday morning (1/16). It's going to be chilly for the next 36 hrs. So dress warm," said Perkins. "We expect a holiday weekend crowd, perhaps somewhat depressed from the normal, due to the temps. We might get some alpine skiers who will head for the woods on our skis as a warmer experience. Folks should bring an extra hat, and plan on changing it at the halfway point on their adventure."
Waterville Valley, N.H. is jammed for the holiday weekend. Deb Moore told Leo: "It's solid occupancy this weekend at 90 percent with a few last minute rooms available. It has us poised for a great weekend. I went out yesterday and was very comfortable with tqo layers (fleece or inner jacket and jacket), warm hat and mittens with inner layer, too. An inexpensive neck gaitor is indispensible! The conditions were fantastic and there was consistent corduroy all over the mountain helped by the cold temperatures."
Eric Friedman, at always fun Mad River Glen, is expecting a high turnout as local bookings "appear strong." He says the temps are expected to "surge" to more seasonable norms over the weekend, perhaps even some snow.
Friedman has a tip for staying warm. "I personally love to use the hand warmer pack, but what I do is put them on my wrists (next to the veins) instead of in the gloves. You stay much warmer. I use old wrist sweatbands with a hole cut into them so I can slide the hand warmers in between the layers of fabric. Then, they stay in place. You can also make this kind of thing easy out of other materials This works great for kids, too. Amazing more folks don't use it."
Sugarloaf's Ethan Austin says Saturday will stay "brisk" Down East in Maine, but Sunday and Monday ought to be in the high teens to low twenties. His advice in really cold weather: "Take a break and go inside. A 15 or 20 minute warm-up break will do wonders for you. There's no reason to try and tough it out when ten minutes inside with a hot chocolate will refresh your whole system and let you enjoy the rest of the day." There's that hot chocolate again.
Okemo, Vermont's Bonnie MacPherson says to forget about the weather reports that eastern weather men and women are going loco about. " Okemo is 100 percent open. Packed powder conditions are ridiculously awesome, and the temps are going to rise as the weekend progresses."
OnTheSnow.com's Mike Terrell, from his Midwest lookout post in Traverse City, Michigan, says "The weather is setting up perfect for most Heartland ski areas with the bitter cold that held the region in an icy grip this past week heading east. In its wake, temperatures are forecasted to be in the high teens and low 20s across much of the region. Lower Michigan is expecting a few inches of snow Saturday."
"We're expecting a big crowd over the holidays," enthused Granite Peak's Vicki Bauman. "The weather is absolutely perfect and people can't wait to get outdoors after that prolonged cold snap we've just gone through."
It was the same mood at Chestnut Mountain, overlooking the Mississippi River from a high bluff near Galena, Ill.
"I have a feeling this is going to be one of our biggest Martin Luther King Jr. weekends," exclaimed Chestnut's Stewart Stofregan. "The hotel is completely booked for the three-day weekend, and there will be a lot of people staying over in Galena as well. The weather forecast is perfect. We have lots of snow on the slopes."
Lutsen Mountains, located along Minnesota's North Shore of the Arrowhead, is expecting a good crowd, but no record.
"It should be a good winter weekend for us if the weather cooperates, and it is," said Jim Vick. "The weather forecast looks perfect for skiing and riding. We have record snowfall so far this season, and advance bookings look good. It's normally one of our better weekends, because the kids have that Monday off. However, because many of the parents don't have the work day off, it doesn't generate the crowds that we normally get over the Presidents' Weekend."
"Our advance bookings are actually a little behind the MLK weekend for last season. It's kind of a trend that we've seen recently; people waiting until the last minute to come or make a reservation," said Erin Ernst. "The week-long cold snap we just went through could've had an impact. Again, people were waiting until the last moment to make up their mind."
Perfect North Slopes, in southeastern Indiana, is looking forward to large crowds over the weekend.
"MLK weekend tends to be one of our biggest weekends of the season," said Ellen Perfect. "The forecast is for temperatures to moderate into the 30s on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so we expect normal holiday attendance during these three days. We see a fair number of people traveling 3-5 hours from Kentucky and Tennessee that will come up and play over the long weekend."
Devil's Head Resort in central Wisconsin is expecting a big weekend. Joe Vittengel told Terrell, "It should be perfect conditions, and when the hotel is booked, it normally means a busy weekend with lots of day-trippers as well."
Those of you in the rest of country can just relax and forget about traveling in and out of tough weather. You may not even need that hot chocolate.
"Sunny skies and unusually warm temps in the West are expected through the long weekend, which could have an effect on mountain snow. Areas that sit at higher elevations will actually begin to warm up with exposure to the sun, thus the possibility of some snowmelt remains high.
"Get out and enjoy the powder while it's still there. Highs from the mid 30s in the mountains to the mid 70s in California and the Southwest, are expected," says OnTheSnow.com's official weather watcher RC Williams. Those must be nice words to hear, particularly in the beleaguered, weather-battered Pacific Northwest.
Enjoy your holiday weekend.