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Frigid Air Closes Northern Ski Resorts, Aides Mid-Atlantic Slopes

A blast of arctic air is making its way across the United States, plunging temperatures below zero for many northern locations. Some cities, such as Fargo, N.D.; International Falls, Minn.; Rhinelander, Wis.; and Ironwood, Mich., have experienced subzero temperatures daylong.

This has caused complications for northern ski resorts, such as Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minn. The dangerously low temperatures led to closures at the resort for the safety of their patrons. Through New Year's Day, the ski lodge will be open during the daytime but will close at 5 p.m. CST when temperatures will again drop to potentially hazardous levels, according to a news update posted on their website.

The cold weather will be a benefit rather than a burden, however, for some resorts farther south. At the Canaan Valley Resort in Davis, W. Va., General Manager David Herscher said that the temperature drop will help the slopes recoup after warm weather melted a good deal of snow.

"We had a few days where we were battling 60-degree weather," Herscher said. "We lost a good bit of snow but we were able to recoup."

The resort will be able to make even more snow to help that recuperation as the weather turns colder. Currently, Canaan Valley has a 12- to 42-inch snowpack.

Meanwhile, the season has started out strong for some resorts in New England.

"With an early storm in December that delivered us over 15 inches of snow, and consistent cold weather, we have a very good snowpack for current trails we have open and those trails that we are currently making snow on," said Thomas Prindle, director of marketing at Attitash Mountain Resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

"There was quite a bit of natural terrain open early, but the weekend thaw/ice storm prior to Christmas was a bit detrimental to any trails or terrain we had opened simply naturally. However, with new snow and more snow forecasted, and consistent cold temperatures beneficial to snow-making, we continue to add trails and terrain daily."

The potential for a snowstorm in the Northeast this week should be beneficial for many resorts working to increase their snowpack.

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