Lake-effect snow means business for New York ski resorts

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The snowflakes are starting to fly — and that means ski season is here for many resorts across the Empire State.

At Ellicottville Holiday Valley Resort in Western New York – better late than never.

“Without the cold temperatures and low humidity, we can’t make snow as effectively,” said Dash Hegeman, director of marketing at Holiday Valley Resort. “We had some nice little windows where they were able to fire up the system and start the process, but nothing extended enough to allow them to fully exhaust it.”

Holiday Valley had hoped to open the slopes the day after Thanksgiving, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. But now, with cold and snow in the forecast, they’re planning to light a fire this Friday.

“It looks like we’ll have some windows this coming week, with some lake-effect snow that will add some nice features to the area and we can really grow things,” he said.

Only a handful of mountains in the region are open for the season, according to onthesnow.com. Everything depends on the weather.

“Snow affects people,” Hegeman said. “It’s something our skiers and riders love to see, so from that perspective, it’s great to have Mother Nature step in and help the process along.”

About 500,000 people visit Holiday Valley each season. 20% of them are from Canada – and with the loosening of COVID-19 border restrictions, they started to see a return to their northern neighbors last year.

“It’s very interesting to see people easily cross the border and come back,” he said.

While some may fear the snow and cold, this means big business for ski resorts and one way for people to enjoy the winter months.

“It’s amazing to be able to see people who are so excited to get out on the ice, going through the lines and down the slopes,” Hegeman said. .”



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