Warmest January for Ski Area Weather

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Thinking ahead and installing new snowmaking technology enabled one Midwest Ski Area to beat what Mother Nature gave them during one of the warmest January's on record.

half million dollars in equipment to manufacture snow over the past five years and, according to Dave Carto, General Manager, it has paid off handsomely this year. The main reason, of course, has been the record warm Midwest weather that kicked off the year in January.

“We had a great start in December and made more snow than ever before,” Carto said. “Snow Trails opened for skiing on December 3, the first resort in Ohio to do so, and, except for Christmas day, haven’t had to close since,” he added.

The following month was not as appealing for ski area weather. According to the National Weather Service, January 2006 was the warmest on record with an average high temperature of 44.1 degrees Fahrenheit and barely below freezing 30.1 for the average low. In addition, the snowfall was only 2.7 inches, far below the average.

The technology of snowmaking has changed quite a bit over the last two decades, according to Thad Philpott, Mountain Manager at Snow Trails. “We can make more snow per kilowatt hour of energy than we could twenty years ago,” he said. “Not only can we make more snow per hour, the man-made snow now is better and lasts longer,” he stated. For the average skier that means they will see better and more consistent conditions than just a decade ago.

Snow Trails management expects the current skiing/snowboarding season to be about average in length when they close in early to mid-March. Even so, Scott Crislip, business manager, expects the mild January to hurt the bottom line at most ski areas in the Midwest this winter. “We can’t make up for rainy days unless winter returns with a roar in February, which of course we are looking forward to,” he stated.

Snow Trails is celebrating their 45th season this year. Started in 1961 with only a few rope tows, they have been growing and improving since. They now offer six chair lifts, a beginner’s ski carpet conveyor lift and sixteen slopes. The resort has been in the forefront of changes in snowmaking as well as grooming technology.

Located near the Interstate 71 and Ohio 13 interchange south of Mansfield, Snow Trails is convenient to winter sports enthusiasts from Cleveland to Columbus. A toll free ski conditions report line is available at 1-800-DEC-SNOW.

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Samantha Rufo
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