And area ski resorts are open and will be hoping for a rebound.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Weather Reports
- Recreational and Sporting Goods Industry
See more topics »
101 Doe Mountain Ln, Macungie, PA 18062, USA
1 Camelback Rd, Tannersville, PA 18372, USA
Blakeslee, Tobyhanna, PA, USA
Hollow Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA
1660 Blue Mountain Dr, Danielsville, PA 18038, USA
Local ski resorts are hoping that the predicted cold weather and ideal snow-making conditions expected beginning Thursday night will get snow enthusiasts to remember it's ski and snowboard season in the state. While big crowds won't make up for lost patronage during the week between Christmas and New Year's, the MLK weekend is a very big one for ski areas.
"It's been crazy with the weather," said Megan McHugh, director of sales, marketing and public relations at Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville.
"We had the early snow in October, then the warm-up, and it's just been crazy."
Rain on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning hasn't damaged the snow at the local resorts, which are relying exclusively on man-made snow at this point in the season.
Man-made snow is critical to the success of ski resorts in the Keystone State and has most of the state's ski areas up and running, contrary to weather reports from Philadelphia area television stations.
Last Tuesday, one of the Philadelphia stations said there was no snow on the slopes as evidenced by its camera at the local ski area, and that because the temperature was not 32 degrees, there was no snow making.
Meanwhile, the station's camera picked up a snow-making machine blowing snow in the background, and the slopes shown on camera were covered in artificial snow. The areas adjacent to the slopes were bare, but the slopes themselves were snow-covered.
"Some people think we don't have [snow] and aren't coming out," said Megan Weir, marketing coordinator at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Alburtis. "We have the snow, just not the guests."
Bear Creek has been hurt more than other resorts such as Blue Mountain and Pocono ski areas Camelback, Jack Frost/Big Boulder, Shawnee and Big Bear because of its latitude. But there is snow on the mountain at Bear Creek, and people are skiing and snowboarding. Salisbury High School graduate and pro soccer player Jason Yeisley even posted on Facebook that Bear Creek is the place to go for snowboarding lessons.
"The conditions are good," Weir said. "Typically, we open the mountain for skiing and riding sometime between Dec. 10-15, but this year, we opened with one trail on Dec. 20 and had to close the next day. We didn't open again until Jan. 2, and we've been open ever since, with about 95 percent of our trails open at this point."
Snow making does not require freezing temperatures. Snow can be manufactured at temperatures as high as 42 degrees if the humidity and barometer are in the proper alignment.
"A lot of people aren't educated on how we make snow, and that's why we try to push a lot of things through our blog and social media," Weir said. "We try to explain that's it's not just air temperature. Some of the weather people aren't coming out here and probably don't know much about snow making."
Weir said that special deals on lift tickets have been made available for people viewing Bear Creek's social media.
Just because it hasn't been snowing, doesn't mean there is a lack of available snow terrain on the area's mountains.
"We have 25 of our 34 trails open," McHugh said of Camelback. "We have everything from beginner to expert terrain open and have been fairly busy. The weather itself has deterred people because they aren't thinking about skiing when it's not that cold. I was on Long Island the day after Christmas and people were golfing."
Because it's a holiday weekend, there aren't any real lift ticket deals, but there is plenty of activity.
Camelback is hosting the only Eastern stop for the National Nike/The Chosen Rail Jam, which carries a $3,000 purse for the snowboarding and free ski jam. Camelback is the third stop on the seven-event, three-month tour.
"Martin Luther King weekend is normally a busy weekend for us, but this year with the huge Nike Chosen event, we expect an even bigger crowd," McHugh said.
She said that the event runs 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, and a professional crew has been flown in by the tour to install $20,000 worth of lighting and fog machines to set the atmosphere. Fans and spectators will have a perfect view from the Sunbowl parking area, according to McHugh.
Live music and a disc jockey will be part of the festivities for the event and the weekend.
Bear Creek is hosting a Burton snowboards demonstration day on Saturday.