Local ski season off to a great start, after last year’s mild winter

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With several winter weather events over the past several weeks and more snow expected this week, area ski resorts say they are thrilled about the forecast this year.

Last winter’s lack of snow made for lackluster attendance and income. This year’s weather is proving much more promising.

For two-year-old Wesley George and his mom Alexandra, winter and all its adventures have made a welcome return.

“Absolutely, get the kids out of the house and burn some energy,” said Alexandra.

The Georges drove up the Northway from Saratoga Springs to West Mountain, joining a winding path of skiers. The resort is more than grateful.

Last year was a green winter. It ended up losing the ski resort millions of “green”.

“It was basically the winter that never came,” said West Mountain co-owner Spencer Montgomery.

Montgomery snapped photos on the mountain on Christmas Eve of 2015. In the photos the trails are brown where they should be white, covered in dirt where there should be snow.

“We still had green ferns on the hill,” said Montgomery. “There was still growth of vegetation. It was a complete mud bowl.”

One of the warmest winters on record came at the worst possible time. Montgomery says months earlier West Mountain had invested about $4 million in improvements, including a new ski lift, snow making equipment, a high-tech tuning machine, and improvements to the grounds.

“We had an operating loss of about $1.2 million,” said Montgomery.

Fast forward one year later, and the snow, and the hope, has returned.

So too have the ski enthusiasts.

“As Charles Dickens would say, the best of times the worst of times,” said Montgomery. “We’re through it.”

And there are more improvements this year, including a new ski tuning machine and all new rental gear.

And skiers are happy to see plenty of white snow.

 

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