Unseasonably warm weather taking a toll on ski resorts

Monday, December 7, 2015
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The mild weather may be great for those weary of winter, but it's bad for those in the business of snow.

MACUNGIE, Pa. -- The mild weather may be great for those weary of winter, but it's bad for those in the business of snow.

Ideally, many ski slopes in the Poconos open by mid-December. But this year there is no snow and the ski lifts are idle, with more warm weather in the forecast.

Jeff Zellner, the Public Relations Director for Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Berks County is not thrilled about the lingering mild conditions we are experiencing well into December.

"It is definitely cause for concern for us," said Zellner.

As many of us enjoy the relatively balmy conditions, but the lack of freezing temperatures has rendered Bear Creek's snow guns useless.

And while the resorts prime moneymaking season doesn't begin until the end of December, having snow on the mountain by the beginning of December goes a long way in getting skiers and snowboarders hyped up.

"It has a lot of marketing value for people. I mean, when the weather is cold and there's snow on the ground there's not a heck of a lot else to do other than trying to get outside to do what you do. So for us, it builds and this time of year has a lot of value in terms of building excitement, the anticipation," said Zellner.

Mild conditions in early December in Berks County are not terribly unusual, but it's a different story up in the Poconos where it tends to be significantly colder.

And while it is about ten degrees colder Monday in Lake Harmony, it doesn't really matter.

At Jack Frost ski resort, there's not a flake of snow. Jack frost officials say this time last year, Jack Frost and Big Boulder were already open for business.

"Last year we started making snow in November and we ran 36 million gallons of water through and turned it into snow. We had snow everywhere pre-Christmas," said Jack Frost general manager, Mark Daubert.

Daubert says all he is waiting for is that first cold snap and his dozens of snow guns are ready to go.

"The good thing is we have some flyer power so we'll hit it hard and try to get something ready for the holiday," he said.

If you have a hankering for skiing or snowboarding, Big Boulder says they will have one slope open this weekend.