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Mt. Washington ski resort forced to close due to lack of snow: 200 people to be laid off

Mount Washington on Vancouver Island says it is closing indefinitely due to a lack of snow, the resort announced Wednesday.

The closure will result in the layoffs of more than 200 people.

“It’s unfortunate but if we’re not open, there’s no work for people,” says resort spokesperson Brent Curtain. “We are in the process of letting people know — our plan right now is to re-open as soon as we have enough snowfall.”

Curtain says the situation is unprecedented for the resort, which traditionally gets some of the deepest snowfall in North America.

“We are seeing some of the driest conditions we’ve ever seen in resort history. Right now we have about 70 centimetres of snow mid-mountain, but there’s a lot of bare spots. We just don’t have snowpack that we would normally see at this time of year.”

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Curtain says a normal snowpack at this time of year would be well over 250 centimetres. He says the total cumulative snowfall to date this season is under 150 centimetres.

In December 2012, the resort received 500 centimetres that month alone. An average annual snowfall for Mount Washington is 12 metres.

Curtain says it’s hard to say how long the resort will be closed for. He says a high pressure system sitting off the west coast has been blocking storms and pushing them up and away from our area.

“It’s been sunny and beautiful up here, but it hasn’t given us a lot of snow.”

Mount Washington opened in 1979.

North Shore mountains have also been experiencing low snow conditions, with no accumulation for the past few days. However, Cypress, Grouse and Seymour are all operational at this time.

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