NEW YORK—New Yorkers walking by Union Square Park on Thursday were treated to a sight they have not seen much of this winter—snow. The white stuff was courtesy of the Ski Areas of New York (SANY) that brought in four dump trucks full of fresh snow from nearby Belleayre Mountain.
SANY wanted to show people that despite the warm weather here in the city, there is snow upstate.
“Just because there is no snow in your backyard does not mean there is no snow on our mountains,” said Scott Brandi, SANY president. “If these people only knew what I knew, they would all be skiing.”
Since the resorts can make snow, they would prefer the city to have their snow because it motivates people to head north, said Gerry Tschinkel, vice president of sales and marketing for Hunter Mountain.
“When people down in the city don’t see snow, skiing is not at the top of their minds, so that has hurt us,” said Tschinkel.
Dawn Bauer, administrator for Belleayre Mountain said they had noticed a similar trend. “It definitely affects our business when there is snow in the city. We definitely have better skier visits.”
Compared to a bountiful season last winter, New York state ski areas, much like the rest of the country, have struggled with the lack of natural snow this season. Fortunately resorts, such as Hunter Mountain, are prepared with substantial snowmaking capabilities.
“We fired Mother Nature years ago and have been working with Jack Frost, because all we need is the cold weather, not the natural snow,” Tschinkel said.
Despite little natural snow, Hunter Mountain will have 50 trails open this weekend and 10 of 11 lifts running, according to Tschinkel.
Conditions at the resorts are not as bad as in the city, but that perception has been difficult to overcome. Brandi reported resorts across the state were down an average of 20 percent when compared to the last five years.
“In a winter like this, you have a challenge,” Brandi said. “But we are not crying over this. We are being proactive and keeping positive.”