Ski hills become latest casualties of warm winter weather

MONCTON – Ski hills in the Maritimes are the latest victims of almost a week of mild weather and rain across the region.

On Wednesday at Poley Mountain Ski Hill in Sussex, it looked like the mountain was crying as pools of melted water streamed down the slopes.

“It’s just a lot of rain per storm,” said general manager Bill Anderson. “Last week we went from minus-29 one morning to plus-10 the next day. ”

Much of the 100-centimetre snow base that blanketed Poley earlier in the season has melted. Both Poley and Wentworth ski hill in Nova Scotia were forced to shut down.

Anderson says Maritime ski hills get hit with some kind of January thaw every year.

“That’s why snow-making is so important here,” he said.

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But it hasn’t even been cold enough to do that, and the hill’s snow guns are sitting idle.

Dieppe ski and snowboard retailer Rick Snyder says the mild spell has lasted longer than most and he’s starting to feel the pinch.

“It has certainly slowed business way down,” he said. “People are not into buying stuff that they can’t use right away.”

Normand Arsenault, president of the Codiac Ski Club in Dieppe, says the cross country ski trails in Dieppe are far too wet and soggy to groom.

“Right now the trail are closed we are advising people not to walk or ski on it,” he said.

Anderson is optimistic, however, as the long-range forecast is calling for cooler temperatures by the end of the weekend.

He’s hoping to be able to make some snow and open at least a few runs this week.

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