No snow? So what! NJ ski areas are making their own
When Mother Natures gives you lemons for winter weather, you make your own snow.
Despite a lack of snow this winter, New Jersey's two largest ski areas — Mountain Creek in Vernon and Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah — have managed to make snow for much of the winter, according to Mike Colbourn, president of SnoCountry.
SnoCountry tracks conditions at ski areas across the country, including Campgaw and Mountain Creek, both of which declined to comment for this story.
The biggest challenge for ski operators is not seeing snow where you live but there's plenty of snow at the ski areas. Colbourn said the ski area websites and his own company's services are important to check for conditions.
"It may not be in your backyard but you might be pretty surprised when you get to the hill and see how much snow is there," Colbourn said. "Any of the areas further south than New England are really good at making snow."
Colbourn said ski areas facing a lack of natural snowfall are aggressively looking to make snow at every possible moment 'round the clock in order to build up a base in order to withstand warmer temperatures.
"They can stockpile it in a lot of cases because they need to keep their season going regardless of what Mother Nature throws at them," Colburn said.
Tom Fobes, the Monmouth County parks superintendent, said that while the sledding hills at Big Brook Park in Marlboro and Wolf Hill in Oceanport have gone unused this season for sledding, people are still coming to the parks.
"People can come out and use our trails or go bike riding or go fishing and use our parks in other ways other than winter activities," Fobes said, with some days as busy as a summer day.
Why the warm winter weather? Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said two important ingredients for a big snow storm have been missing this winter: cold air and an active atmospheric pattern that allows for a favorable (nor'easter-ish) storm track.
"As a result, total season-to-date snowfall across the state ranges from 5% to 40% of normal," Zarrow said.
Zarrow said it only takes one big storm to make the winter memorable.
"In fact, if we see one 6-inch snow event before the end of the season, it wouldn't even fall in the top 10 least snowy winters anymore," Zarrow said.
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