To say that skiers and snowboarders are excited to get in a few mid-week runs at Hunter Mountain might be an understatement. When you remind them that another foot of snow, maybe more, is on the way this weekend, euphoric might not be strong enough a word to describe their sentiments.
“We’re all just a bunch of kids on Christmas morning and the snow is a big gift,” said Scott Brandi, president of Ski Areas of New York, out for a few mid-week runs Thursday afternoon at Hunter Mountain. “We just all want to get out and play and we’re hoping the storm this weekend will give us that opportunity.”
At Hunter Mountain, they’ve already created a five-foot base of man-made snow.
“The state of winter here at Hunter Mountain is looking spectacular,” declared Daniel Kenney, communications manager at the Greene County resort. “Our snowmakers have been doing an incredible job so far this season and we’re looking forward to the upcoming snow storm. It is definitely a morale booster.”
“There’s nothing better than real snow on the east coast,” said Jeff Lingo, of East Hampton, New Jersey, hitting the slopes with his children on Thursday afternoon. “That’s what all skiers live for.”
Also awaiting skiers and riders at Hunter Mountain not one, but two super six chairlifts to speed up the fun.
One of the longtime concerns at Hunter is that on any given weekend, there could be 6,000 to 7,000 skiers competing for space on the slopes. To solve that dilemma, they’ve cut through the forest on the other side of the mountain to create Hunter North, which increases the skiing terrain by one-third, and adds nine new trails, something people have noticed.
“I was here Saturday morning and the place was mobbed,” said Peter Bell, from Cornwall, New York, “I came over here (to Hunter North) and I was skiing right onto the lift.”
That problem might be solved, but some skiers are seeing something else that could impact the entire ski industry, climate change.
“I’m sure climate change will be a huge issue, especially for areas that don’t get a lot of natural snow,” Lingo surmised. “That would be a big problem if it got a lot warmer.”
“We’d have our heads in a hole if we weren’t sensitive to the fluctuation, the peaks and valleys of temperature change over the last few years,” Brandi added.
Which is why ski areas have already invested heavily in energy efficient snowmaking.