Ski areas don’t have to rely on Mother Nature the way they used to, thanks to technology and the ability to make snow. But they remain under the sway of weather, and recently the situation has generated a challenge.
The circumstances you might otherwise find welcome, warmer temperatures for the season and rain instead of snow, work against the efforts of ski areas to provide outlets for fun. Both Mount Southington and Powder Ridge, in Middlefield, have been forced to close for several days, reported the Record-Journal recently.
Statistics indicate snowfall has been half of what usually takes place this season, with just more than seven inches reported. And while that’s still three inches more than a year ago, it has made it a challenge to keep snow on the slopes. Snowmaking might seem like magic, but it can’t perform miracles.
What’s needed for snowmaking is for it to be cold at night, and there’s some indication that will work even as temperatures are expected to stay above normal. “It just hasn’t been conducive this time of year,” said Gary Lessor, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University. “Typically every single night those guns are going from — sunset to sunrise. And that hasn’t been the case.”
“Mother Nature’s not making it easy for us this year,” said Sean Hayes, Powder Ridge owner.
The R-J reported that despite the disadvantages activity is up at both ski areas. Mount Southington, for example is selling more season passes this year than in the past three seasons.
“These past couple of weeks have been very difficult for us,” said Hayes. “But even last night, the conditions were great, but it is about the community coming out.”
That people remain eager to enjoy the slopes, even when the conditions are far from ideal, is a good sign for the local ski areas, which also offer activities outside the slopes to help maintain interest. It remains a good time to hit the slopes.