Where’s the Snowfall?
Where’s the snow? That’s the question that ski areas and entire regions that rely on skiing and outdoor winter activities for tourism and trade are wondering.
Last year, Mammoth got 200 inches of snow in December alone. This year - two.
Similarly, Maine’s Sugarloaf has gotten about 25-30 inches, but has less than half of its normal compliment of trails open because there hasn’t been enough snow and it’s been warmer than usual.
Ski areas that haven’t gotten natural snowfall have only been able to make snow when it gets cold enough. That’s especially been the case in the Middle Atlantic, which has largely avoided the cold snaps necessary to bring in temperatures favorable for snow making. Ski areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York are all suffering from a lack of snowfall - and the lack of snowstorms means that skiers aren’t considering trips that they might make if they see snow at home.
Moreover, if the snowfall doesn’t pick up in places like the Rockies, that will adversely affect downstream areas come spring that rely on water from snowmelt for irrigation.
The only benefit to the lack of snow (other than the freak October snowstorm) so far is that municipalities and states haven’t had to expend as much money on clearing snow from roads (where in NYC alone, it runs $1 million per inch to plow city streets).