Stowe Mountain Resort kicked off its skiing season this weekend, and skiers say they were glad to be back.

“Grab your board, get your skis,” said Chris Dickson, a Rhode Island resident who has been to opening weekend at Stowe five years running. “Winter is here.”

Jacob Tanner, a Connecticut resident, said he arrived early and found the snow choppy. But, he said, as the day wore on, things got better.

“Right now, it was actually pretty nice,” Tanner said. “Kind of packed powder. Little icy, still a little choppy but good time.” 

Those who showed up for the opening weekend were spared new parking fees at Stowe, which don’t kick in until December 2. Parking at the Main Base Lodge will cost $30 on weekends and holidays. The resort also offered $450 parking passes, which sold out quickly even though they do not guarantee holders a parking spot.

Dickson, who made his way down from Rhode Island, said he was a bit put off by the new parking policy. “I was a little hesitant to come because of that,” he said, “but I saw they weren’t charging until December, so I was like ‘Sure, I’ll come anyway.'”

Adam White, a spokesman for the resort, said a shortage of parking and increasing traffic have long been problems at Stowe Mountain. 

“We want to create a smooth experience getting here for everybody,” White says. “Everyone can get here faster and smoother.”