The little ski area Cloudmont Ski resort, the self-proclaimed “southeastern most Ski Resort in the U.S.,” enjoyed some actual snow fall this week. When a highly unusual snow storm moved through the South this week, the little ski resort in Metone, Alabama received at least 3 inches of the real thing.
But in the North, it is too much of a good thing , with snow and bitter cold forcing some ski areas to close. Michigan has been in the heart of the polar-like winter, resulting in Bittersweet Ski Resort, Timber Ridge and Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area closing down Tuesday. Mt. Holly and Pine Knob ski resorts are also closed. Some the ski areas closed becuae of the brutal temperatures, others due to road conditions and bans on non-essential travel.
Then there is the West coast. Up in Canada, Mount Washington on Vancouver Island says it is closing indefinitely due to a lack of snow, resulting in the layoffs of more than 200 people. Further south in California, the small, historic and family-owned resorts such as Donner Ski Ranch or Dodge Ridge haven’t opened, costing jobs and revenue for local businesses.
The big corporations running Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain have made major investments in snow-making tools, allowing the areas to run during the current drought. Squaw Valley alone has spent $5.2 million since 2012. This month virtually all of the snow at the resorts came out of machines.
Even in Alaska, the warm temperatures are creating adverse conditions. The Aleyska Resort in Girdwood said Sunday that it was closing its ski lifts and terrain for several days due to unseasonably warm temperatures that have made a mess of groomed mountainsides.