The weather outside here in eastern Massachusetts may not be terribly frightful, but northern New England has been getting hammered this month with snow. The National Weather Service says Portland, for example, is more than a foot ahead of what’s average for this time of the year.

That early season snow and cold temperatures have combined with tens of millions of dollars in improvements at resorts across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine that include new chair lifts, snow-making upgrades and more off-slope activities like climbing walls and water parks.

"Looking out my window, I'm seeing a winter wonderland," said Jessica Keeler, executive director of Ski New Hampshire, whose office is in Conway, NH.

Keeler, who joked that people in the industry have taken to calling this month "SnowVember," said some resorts have opened weeks earlier then normal, including smaller mountains. And while it's unlikely any of the ski areas are making a fortune in the early season, Keeler said it's critical that potential skiers know their favorite slopes are open for business.

"I think it's as much about a boost in the public perception, in the marketplace," she said. "You know, [the] more people get excited about it, you might see more people thinking they might buy a season pass, and I think you're going to see more bookings for holidays or weekends or whatever."

Most areas start making snow as soon as the weather turns colder, but it's rare to get so much natural (and free) snow this early across New England. All this has combined to produce rarely seen mid-November conditions, said Sarah Hyde of Wilmington, who has been out on the slopes a half dozen times already at southern Vermont’s Mount Snow. The ski resort had its earliest opening ever on Oct. 27.

“In the old days, I would take a pair of rock skis out for early in the season because you’d rather see the sparks fly on something old rather than something new,” said Hyde, who added that she hasn’t seen any bare spots on the slopes thus far.

The good economy also contributed to an increase in sales of gear in the off-season, said Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association. “Ski swaps,” in which skiers buy, sell and trade gear before the season, were especially well attended this year, he said.

AP reporters Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine, and Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.