New Jersey ski slopes shaping up for banner season
With a lack of snow and warmer-than-average temperatures in November and December, New Jersey's ski season got off to a slow start, but a succession of recent snowstorms and plummeting temperatures have left mountains flooded with skiers, snowboarders and other adventure seekers looking for a blast of winter fun.
"Since December, we've had lots of cold weather for making snow," said Ronald Fuhr, who is part of the management team at Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah. "We've had lots of natural snow and everybody enjoys that, and they've come out to ski."
Fuhr said all that is needed to make snow is cold temperatures, so while making snow isn't a problem now, it was in November and December. As a result, the ski slopes at Campgaw Mountain didn't open until shortly before Christmas. In 2013, the slopes opened in early December thanks to cold temperatures in the beginning of the season.
Not only did ski resorts open earlier in 2013, but the continued cold temperatures allowed them to keep the slopes open longer. For the most part, ski resorts were able to stay open well into March, some even until April, because the weather remained cold and snow stuck around.
Mountain Creek in Vernon was able to open early in 2013, but then there was a lull in December before it picked up again after Christmas.
"We had one of our best winters ever last year," said Jim Costello, senior director of marketing and sales at Mountain Creek. "We're seeing very strong attendance right now, even exceeding last year's numbers, and if it continues with the momentum we're seeing right now, it could be an above-average season for us."
According to Costello, the current barrage of snowstorms is helping bring people to the slopes because it is helping to prevent "backyard syndrome," which is when people do not go skiing because they do not physically see snow in their own backyards.
"Sometimes, even though we have a good product on the hill, if they don't see the snow right in front of them, it's hard to get them motivated to go skiing," Costello said.
At the same time, when it comes to snow, the day of a snowstorm is often slower at ski resorts, but the day after is when attendance skyrockets. "Once the roads are cleared up and people are able to get around, we see a boost in attendance," Costello said.