Streams

Snow Joke! Ski Resorts Still Struggling With Warm Weather

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mild winter temperatures are putting a damper on the ski season.

Several Northeast resorts are still struggling with a lack of natural snow and warmer temperatures this season, and many of them aren’t even fully opened yet, according to Nick Reuter, who runs the online skiing forum AlpineZone.com.

“I think…a lot of people just don’t have skiing on their minds,” Reuter said, “when they step outside and its 45 degrees in the middle of February."

The mild winter is something many resorts have been struggling with since the start of the season, when warmer temperatures made it difficult to keep snow on the ground.

Beth Barry, a spokeswoman for Windham Mountain in upstate New York, said the resort’s been “totally dependent” on its snowmaking this year.

“To be honest, not much has changed since December,” she said. “We very much relied on our snowmaking and grooming team to get us where we are.”

She said 97 percent of the mountain has been open to skiers and snowboarders since mid-January. Still, she added that the resort is trying to boost attendance by offering plenty of other activities and attractions, like fireworks, live bands, snow tubing and zip-lining.

The National Weather Service confirms that it’s been much warmer this winter. Meteorologist Matt Layer said daily temperatures are about five degrees higher than the average for this time of year. So far, he said, it’s the second warmest winter in the city, after 2002.

Just 4.5 inches of snow has fallen in Central Park since December 1. Last winter, more than 57 inches of snow fell between December 1 and February 15.

Still, resorts could see a boost from the February holiday — traditionally among the busiest of the ski season.

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