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Big snow brings delights, damage

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Bella Lattanzi, 13, tastes the first significant snow of the season off a fencepost in front of her Montague Center home.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Bella Lattanzi, 13, tastes the first significant snow of the season off a fencepost in front of her Montague Center home.

  • A Connecticut couple learn to cross country ski for free at Stump Sprouts Ski area in Hawley on Saturday. Pat Montgomery is on skis for the first time ever, while Bob Montgomery skied at  Berkshire East in 1990, they saw Stump Spouts mentioned in a Saturday feature in a Waturbury newspaper and decided to make the two hour trip from Wolcott. Instructors are Nick Crawford,(son of owners Lloyd and Suzanne)and David Fisher ,of Newton . <br/><br/>story CS  09/1/3   Geoff Bluh<br/>

    A Connecticut couple learn to cross country ski for free at Stump Sprouts Ski area in Hawley on Saturday. Pat Montgomery is on skis for the first time ever, while Bob Montgomery skied at Berkshire East in 1990, they saw Stump Spouts mentioned in a Saturday feature in a Waturbury newspaper and decided to make the two hour trip from Wolcott. Instructors are Nick Crawford,(son of owners Lloyd and Suzanne)and David Fisher ,of Newton .

    story CS 09/1/3 Geoff Bluh

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Mark Lattanzi clears the sidewalk in front of his Montague Center home like a good citizen.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Mark Lattanzi clears the sidewalk in front of his Montague Center home like a good citizen.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Carina and Noah Rockland of Montague Center cross country ski through the center on the snow packed roads on Thursday.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Carina and Noah Rockland of Montague Center cross country ski through the center on the snow packed roads on Thursday.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Bella Lattanzi, 13, tastes the first significant snow of the season off a fencepost in front of her Montague Center home.
  • A Connecticut couple learn to cross country ski for free at Stump Sprouts Ski area in Hawley on Saturday. Pat Montgomery is on skis for the first time ever, while Bob Montgomery skied at  Berkshire East in 1990, they saw Stump Spouts mentioned in a Saturday feature in a Waturbury newspaper and decided to make the two hour trip from Wolcott. Instructors are Nick Crawford,(son of owners Lloyd and Suzanne)and David Fisher ,of Newton . <br/><br/>story CS  09/1/3   Geoff Bluh<br/>
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Mark Lattanzi clears the sidewalk in front of his Montague Center home like a good citizen.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Carina and Noah Rockland of Montague Center cross country ski through the center on the snow packed roads on Thursday.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Two car head on collision on Rt 116 in Sunderland near the Sugarloaf Frosty.

The first major snowstorm of the season spelled trouble for drivers around the county. But bad road conditions were only one side of the story. Local skiers got encouragement as snow piled up from 6 to 18 inches deep, depending on elevation.

A head-on collision at about 10:15 a.m. in Sunderland caused extensive damage to both vehicles, but left the drivers unscathed, according to police.

Kiersten Mulcare, 21, of Gore Avenue, Hatfield, was driving north on Route 116, when she lost control near the Sugarloaf Frostee on Amherst Road and slid into the southbound lane, where her car struck a Volvo S60 driven by Brandene Gagnon, 19, of Bent Nail Drive, Conway, according to Sunderland police officer Brenda Tozloski.

“The other driver saw her coming, and tried to move closer to the guardrail, but she was still hit,” said Tozloski.

Gagnon and Mulcare were the sole occupants of their vehicles. Airbags in both cars deployed upon impact, and both cars had to be towed.

Tozloski determined that both vehicles were using appropriate speeds for road conditions. She said Mulcare’s car had bald tires, which was a contributing factor. Mulcare will receive a warning for improper equipment, and was determined to be at fault for the accident, said Tozloski.

She said the only other accident she responded to was a car that slid off of Montague Road, and had to be winched out.

In Whately, a 34-year-old Northfield man was driving south on Routes 5 and 10, when his 1997 Ford Escort slid off the road and into a utility pole. The pole broke, and landed on top of the station wagon, according to Whately Police. As a precaution, they had the driver stay in his vehicle until power company workers responded.

Police closed the road for about an hour while they dealt with the accident. The pole carried power lines from the road to a nearby business, and though it broke, the business never lost power. The driver was uninjured, and his vehicle had to be towed.

State police trooper Nicholas Pellegrino said troopers from the Shelburne barracks responded to about 10 accidents Thursday morning.

“They were minor; there was a bit of property damage, but nothing crazy,” said Pellegrino. He said they involved cars that had slid off of the road due to the slick snow.

Skiing

When Lloyd Crawford looked out of his Hawley window to see 18 inches of snow Thursday morning, his first thoughts were “this is fantastic.”

Though many folks may say that with an air of sarcasm as they begrudgingly laced up their boots and dug out their cars, Crawford couldn’t have been more sincere in his sentiment.

“I never get tired of good snow,” said Crawford, co-owner of Stump Sprouts Cross Country Ski Center and Guest Lodge in Hawley. “We haven’t had good powder skiing like this since October 2011.”

Crawford said today will be the first day of Stump Sprouts’ season, beginning at 9 a.m. and going until sundown. Stump Sprouts is open every day on school vacation weeks, and Saturday through Tuesday the rest of the season.

Crawford hopes this season is a bit more consistent than last year’s.

“It was pretty lean last year,” he said. “We opened in mid-January, but we never got a steady run, just a few days here and there.”

Stump Sprouts offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on about 15 miles of trails, as well as lodging and equipment rentals for all ages.

A couple miles down the road in Charlemont, Berkshire East Ski Area was having a red letter day as well.

Marketing director Christopher Loftus couldn’t be reached Thursday for comment. A customer service representative said Loftus was out on the trails, enjoying the fresh snow.

The ski area’s website boasted that three of four chair lifts, one surface lift and 100 percent of its trails were open Thursday. According to the Berkshire East conditions report, the storm left about 14 inches of fresh, natural snow on the slopes.

Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center plans to open for the first day of the season today. Employees could not be reached Thursday, but its hot line advised skiers to show up around between 10 and 10:30 a.m. to enjoy the first runs on the fresh-groomed snow.

The recreation center’s website said Northfield Mountain received more than 6 inches of snow overnight.

Northfield Mountain also offers snowshoeing on its trails, and has plenty of skis and snowshoes available for rent.

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