Another bad ski season hurts businesses

Posted at 7:17 PM, Feb 28, 2017

Last winter, with its mild weather, turned out to be one of the worst seasons on record for the local ski industry - but this winter season is turning out to be even worse.

"The rain has just wiped us out," said Dea Etta Langendorfer, Ticket Center Manager for Kissing Bridge in Glenwood.

"The season has been variable, needless to say, and Mother Nature really hasn't been on our side," added Rachel Fanelli from the Kissing Bridge Marketing Team.

Only a couple slopes now have enough snow to be opened.  Kissing Bridge is planning to keep those slopes dark on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night in hopes that cold temperatures will allow it to make more snow for the weekend crowd.

"We are not giving up," said Dea Etta Langendorfer.

Lack of snow, warm temperatures, and weeks of rain are responsible for the problem on the slopes and trails.

Kissing Bridge normally operates 39 slopes and trails, but this winter, only 29 were able to be opened because of poor weather-related conditions.

After two bad winters for skiing, Kissing Bridge is taking steps to better handle mild weather next year.

The first involves upgrading snow making equipment so more snow can be made quickly when the temperatures are low enough.  

A second change will be moving activities from the north and south ski areas to the central portion in mild weather.  A children's center is also being added to the central area for next season.  That will allow crews to focus more on keeping the central lifts and slopes open when poor weather conditions make it difficult to operate slopes in the other areas.

Kissing Bridge is not the only one affected, other ski areas, such as the Buffalo Ski Club, have also seen poor conditions this season on slopes.

The trickle-down effect from the lack of skiers is also impacting small businesses around Kissing Bridge in the Glenwood / Colden area.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly talked to some businesses who said two years of mild winters are hurting their bottom line

You can hear more in Ed's reports.