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Skier visits increase at Greek Peak owing to "extreme snowfall"

Greek Peak is expecting one of its strongest seasons in recent years.
With a month and a half, 35 percent, of the ski season remaining, Greek Peak Mountain Resort already has nearly 70 percent of last year’s total skier attendance and is expecting its best turnout in recent years.

The heavy and frequent snowfalls of this winter boosted the number of visitors to Greek Peak, according to Kathleen Timmerman, director of sales and marketing.

Greek Peak had 142,418 ski visitors during the 2011-2012 ski season. The next season it rose to approximately 190,000. 2013-2014, which Timmerman said was the ideal skiing condition because it snowed a lot but wasn’t too cold, brought in 220,000 guests.

So far, this season has brought in over 150,000 visitors, according to Timmerman. She noted that that number will at least match, but probably exceed last year’s total because the slopes will remain open until mid-April.

“The extreme snowfall has helped us. It’s definitely brought out people who have never skied before. They tried it, loved it and came back as returning skiers,” Timmerman said.

However, while the heavy snowfalls have helped Greek Peak’s business, the extreme cold has also deterred skiers and snowboarders.

“The extreme cold has definitely hurt our numbers. We find that people just don’t like to sit on the [ski] lift. With the cold comes the wind so people don’t come out,” Timmerman said.

Other ski resorts in upstate New York are in similar situations, as the snow is drawing visitors but the cold is preventing the maximum attendance.

“We’ve had an incredibly strong ski season and, for the past two months, it’s pretty much snowed every week,” Randy Holden, communications manager for Windham Mountain Ski Resorts in Windham, NY, said. “The colder temperatures may have stunted visitor activity by a little, but we’ve had tremendous skier visits due to over 100 inches of snow we’ve received.”

However, the icy temperatures can also be beneficial to ski resorts because Timmerman said it makes the snow have a better texture.

“Right now, the snow quality is at its best. It’s a really dry snow and there’s no humidity in it because it’s so cold,” Timmerman said. “Man-made snow is wet and it isn’t powdery and fluffy like natural snow.”

Skiers in the Ithaca community have also taken advantage of the snow.

The Cornell Ski and Snowboard Club (CSSC) have frequented Greek Peak and even made two trips to Vermont because the entire northeast received heavy snowfalls.

“This is my third season snowboarding in Ithaca and at Greek Peak and it is by far the best yet. Greek Peak has been almost 100% open for weeks now with plenty of snow. Every time I have been so far has been a powder day and not a bit of ice,” Jacob Firth, member of CSSC, said.

Timmerman said despite the recurring days of extreme coldness, the resort has been doing much better this year compared to years when there wasn’t enough snow.

“In 2010 [and] 2011, there was no snow. It was horrible. [A] lot of ski resorts closed and went under,” Timmerman said. “This year we had a slow start. [We were] a little nervous about what the ski season was going to bring, but as soon as we hit the end of January, it took off. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

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