Whipping up a winter wonderland
Ski areas take advantage of chilly, dry weather
CAPITAL REGION Sometimes Mother Nature lends a helping hand — even if it’s a cold one.
With temperatures and humidity bottoming out this week, area ski resorts are making snow around the clock in hope of getting an early jump on the season this year. Though ski season typically opens after Thanksgiving, some areas are tentatively expecting to have some runs open by next week or maybe even earlier.
Mountain temperatures were expected to dip down into the low teens from Tuesday evening into the predawn hours this morning. High temperatures for today aren’t expected to get much higher than the 20s, said John Quinlan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
“It’s going to be that way pretty much through the workweek,” he said Tuesday.
And that means perfect conditions for snow-making — lots of snow-making.
Maple Ski Ridge started making snow once temperatures dropped into the low 30s during the late afternoon Tuesday. Kate Michener, a spokeswoman for the small ski area in Rotterdam, said there’s a chance part of the ridge will open by this weekend so that dedicated skiers can get a few early-season runs in.
“It’s definitely something we’re aiming for,” she said Tuesday. “The earlier the better as far as we’re concerned.”
Likewise, Gore Mountain in North Creek has been furiously making snow ever
since the mercury started dropping this week.
Spokeswoman Emily Stanton said it’s too soon to tell when the mountain will open, but she feels confident the resort will have trails ready before its usual late-November target date.
“We’re starting to cover ground very quickly,” she said. “We’re hopeful for opening day to be sooner than usual.”
Gore also has the benefit of added snow-making capabilities this year. Stanton said Gore has installed new state-of-the-art snow-making equipment that essentially allows the resort to control snow guns remotely and make the most of the weather conditions.
Gore has already started to see some natural snow, too. Stanton said high elevations at the resort were getting snow when there was preciptation earlier this week.
“We’re really confident that the new equipment and our proximity to the Hudson River, which we use for snow-making, is really going to lengthen the season,” she said.
Royal Mountain in Caroga also started making snow on Tuesday. Jim Blaise, the owner of the small mountain, said early-bird season passes are still available and to check back for when the mountain will open for the season.
“We will make snow around the clock as temperatures permit,” he said in a voice message.
Willard Mountain in Easton actually started making snow on Friday. But with temperatures expected to rise into the high 40s this weekend, the small ski area decided to hold off on making more.
“We are ready to go as soon as temps set in,” said Chic Wilson, the ski area’s operator.
The warming trend this weekend isn’t deterring Maple Ski Ridge, though. Michener is confident that if a good base is laid down during the cold blast, it’ll remain there even if the weather warms up a bit for a few days.
“What we are able to put down now … will likely be here until next March,” she said.