- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Northern New England will likely see nary a flake from the snowstorm that began clobbering the Middle Atlantic on Friday - and that’s a major bummer for snow lovers.

Snow envy is running deep in a region where snowmobile trails have exposed stumps and rocks, and open water remains on some normally frozen lakes and ponds.

In southern New Hampshire, for example, the freeze-and-thaw cycle has played havoc with cross-country skiers who rely on snow-covered trails.

“What little snow we’ve had so far has either been followed by rain or wicked strong winds and frigid cold. So, a lot of our local trails still have big bare spots or are incredibly icy,” said Jim Graham of Concord, New Hampshire, one of the leaders of a youth cross-country ski league.

Plenty of snowfall is expected to pummel states to the south.

Forecasters anticipate up to 2 feet of snow starting Friday in the Mid-Atlantic region. To the north, however, southern Maine and New Hampshire may see a few flurries on the coast. Vermont will get zilch.

As much as some folks like to complain about the snow, it’s welcomed in this region where it’s the driver of winter tourism north of Boston. Retailers, lodge owners and restaurateurs count on travelers headed north with skis and snowmobiles to help pay the bills.

Recent snowstorms have helped but the snow cover remains relatively light in some places where the snow should be knee deep in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

“It’s depressing,” said Mike Paquette, the trail master of the Vergennes-based Foote of the Mountains Sno-Travelers snowmobile club in Vermont, when asked about the big storm forecast to hit the Mid-Atlantic states, but spare northern New England.

In Maine, it’s bad enough that a youth ice-fishing derby had to be postponed last weekend. And game wardens have warned anglers of open water and weak ice.

It could be worse, of course.

Cold weather has allowed ski areas to fire up their snow guns.

But those who maintain trails used by cross-country skis and people on snowshoes are dependent on whatever falls from the sky.

Anne Carter, from Carter’s X-C Ski Center in western Maine, said conditions are good for now, and she’s hoping for more snow in the near future. “We’ll keep doing snow dances and praying hard, and the snow will come and the people will come,” she said.

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Associated Press writers Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, and Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

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