NORTHSHIRE - The end of December is rapidly approaching and so far, at least in much of southern Vermont, weather conditions have been mild - a fact that has impacted many local ski and snowboard teams.

The recent rash of warmer weather and rain has caused Burr and Burton Academy to delay the start of Alpine Ski season. The school's first meet was scheduled to take place at Bromley on Tuesday, but has been postponed until Jan. 3.

"We always try to have a race about the 18th or at least before vacation. I guess in the last 14 years or so we've been fifty-fifty. Sometimes we've had it, sometimes we haven't had it," said Alpine Ski Coach Pete McNealus. "We called the race about a week ago because on the snow conditions you want the ground to be somewhat frozen for a base and then snow on top of that. If you don't have that then after 20 people go down the course you're going to be onto the ground and that's not fair for everybody and that's what we have to make our decisions on is that it's fair for all racers."

Although the surrounding snowboard teams - Arlington Memorial High School, BBA and Long Trail School - have not begun their season as of yet, their respective coaches have indicated that the mild weather has not only made it difficult to train, but has delayed training as well. Over the past two weeks, the Burr and Burton snowboard team has trained at one of the surrounding mountains only three times - less than normal for that time period, according to head coach Amy Herrmann.

"We would have [had] at least one more day last week and we would have been on snow today, but we're not because unfortunately Bromley [is] not open today," Herrmann said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Herrmann said that the team has been doing some dry land training and that they event went to Killington Mountain School for an aerial awareness class where students had the opportunity to train by practicing on a trampoline.

Arlington has also experienced some difficulty trying to train for the upcoming season.

"With the lack of snow it's been tough, but we have been doing quite a bit of dry land training," said head coach Mike Keogh. "We've been running and in the weight room. We've been doing some Tae Bo; a lot of stretching, a lot of cardiovascular stuff, jumping rope, and things of that nature."

Most of what the team has done together at this point, Keogh said, has been their training in the weight room. However, in an interview earlier this week, Keogh said he hoped to get the kids on one of the mountains sometime this week. Long Trail coach Kileen Deets said that recent weather has been impacting training with the one rider - Felicia Blanchard - that is participating in the school's snowboard program this year. Deets said typically they would train after school during the week.

"Before we started to train exclusively at Stratton, Bromley is where we use to train in the past years and they're not open during the week because they don't have the snow," Deets said. "Stratton, however, they've been blowing snow and I've been riding a few times and it's not too bad, but this rain is not helping anything. So, it's definitely been affecting and delaying on snow time."

In past years, the ski and snowboard teams would try to begin practicing on the mountains around the time the mountains opened around the Thanksgiving weekend. That has changed though - at least for the ski team - as McNealus said the team has started in the first and third weeks of December over the past two seasons, respectively. While the ski and snowboard teams have experienced some difficulties in trying to train this season, Herrmann does not believe that it will put them at a competitve disadvantage.

"It's a disappointment to have two seasons in a row start like this, but I guess it is what is. Whatever we have to work with we make the best of it," she said. "All of the southern [and] central Vermont teams are in the same boat."