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New England Ski Industry Just Trying to Survive This Winter

Warm temperatures have resulted in a tough ski season

After last season's epic winter in the northeast, this winter has been hard on New England ski areas. December 2015 was one of the driest on record, and even precipitation in January was foiled by high temperatures and rain. Alpine resorts have been managing thanks to extensive snowmaking systems, but both downhill resorts and nordic skiing centers are feeling the hurt from this year's strong El Niño.

Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, told the Stowe Today that this past December was the "worst we've ever had." Warm temperatures have kept most of Vermont's nordic skiing limited, and places like Mountain Meadows, a ski touring center in Killington, has had virtually no trails open this winter.

For ski areas that don't have snowmaking capabilities, this winter has been rough. Eric Friedman, marketing director for the Mad River Glen ski area in Waitsfield, Vt. told the Boston Globe, "It’s friggin’ horrible. It’s been an epically bad year. We get snow and then it rains. It’s below zero and then it’s 60 degrees. We just keep getting beaten down." Bromley Mountain and Mad River Glen were both forced to close mid-week in February due to warm temperatures. Business at Mad River Glen is down more than 40 percent from last year.

Stowe Today reports that the hard winter is also impacting lodging providers like the Trapp Family Lodge, where bookings have been down 18 percent. There are rumors that other bookings are off up to 25 percent at some places.