A sense of season's end has crept into discussions of Winter 2009-10, at least among those familiar with the snowsports industry in the Northeast.

Sure, some refuse to acknowledge that spring officially started Saturday, March 20, but then it always begins around then, and often skiing continues for another month-and-a-half.

All hope that skiers and riders are filled anew with fervor, and continue to hit the slopes in great numbers.

Most, however, suspect this season will slip away quietly in the next few weeks.

The season started late, with unseasonal warmth through November and into the first week of December.

Winter arrived in full force then in the form of sustained cold weather that allowed snow guns to fire up across the Northeast and remain in operation up to the end of February.

"The last half of December, all of January and February, and the first half of March were just fabulous in terms of snow and business," said Tom Meyers of [R488R, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area] in Princeton, Mass.

"It started late, but came to stay. We had two rainy days in those three months: One on Jan. 25, than a month to the day after that we had another one. Except for those two days it's been a pretty good run. It is what it is.

"What happens in years like this is, I think, everyone got a lot of skiing. When you have an intense core season, people have had a lot by the time we get to mid-March. Unless you have really excellent conditions, people are ready to check out early. In a way they get spoiled.

"When we have a stellar March it's usually because we haven't had stellar mid-seasons, for either business or snow. Those years people haven't had enough, and are trying to get it in," Meyers said.

March was kick-started across the Northeast by a week of snow at the tail end of February, which set up the first half of the month.

Torrential rains led into the third week of March, forcing some areas to close for a couple of days to hold cover.

How long will this season run? Ask us in a month or so.