Unless you’ve been skiing at Grand Targhee, which went to 100% open a couple weeks ago, you might be of the opinion that the season is off to a slooooww start. Fact is it’s been fairly typical as the second weekend of December goes — with some notable exceptions in Colorado and Utah, where it’s been more on the dismal side. Well I’m pleased to report that things are finally looking up, and that includes the biggies in CO and UT that have been having a tough time…leading off, photo above Snowbird finally went top-to-bottom this weekend; they’ve got the tram running and it’s just now starting to resemble a real ski season…midwest locales like Lutsen Mountains, way up at the end of the world, had been skiing but were not happy until this recent cold blast. They’ve got the guns back on and getting intermittent natural snow out of the sky…down in Indiana Paoli Peaks finally has the snowmaking fired up again and we expect an announcement soon…in New England the bigger resorts with the snowmaking power have been open right along but this blast of cold and especially Saturday night’s snow made things a lot nicer at places like Sugarbush, which added a couple trails yesterday and I think they’ll be spinning on Lynx by the weekend if not sooner…that whole “slow start” thing seems a bit legit to some skiers at New York’s Belleayre yesterday. The ORDA’s red-headed stepchild added a couple of trails, but then the summit lift went down and stayed down. Staff gave out return vouchers to anyone who asked, but you had to do it by 2:30 pm. That’s something to keep in mind on those rare occasions when a primary lift goes down and a resort becomes essentially non-functional — find out if there is a voucher reimbursement, and find out how to get it, before they take it off the table. If you stay out and use the beginner terrain until closing time, the assumption is that you skied all day and got value, and I agree with them…speaking of ORDA, with the PyeongChang Winter Olympics coming up, they’ve sent out press reminders of all the stuff happening this winter in Lake Placid. In a nut shell, World Cup Luge Dec. 15-16, FIS 2018 Freestyle World Cup aerials competition Jan. 19-20, USCSA Ski & Snowboard Championships March 4-10, Lake Placid Nordic Festival and Loppet March 18, and on a collegiate note, ECAC Mens Hockey D1 Championships March 16-17. The FIS World Cup aerials is interesting because we usually see mogul competition there…all sorts of hubbub in the northeast swirling around The Hermitage Club, which owns the once popular Haystack Ski Resort in southern Vermont, seems they’re in financial straights. We’ll try and gather some info and follow up tomorrow.