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Frequent march snowstorms spell strong business for ski resorts

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(Contributed) Snowboarders sit on a trail at Blue Mountain Ski Area. Local ski resorts say they've gotten a business boost thanks to the more frequent snowstorms this season.
(Contributed) Snowboarders sit on a trail at Blue Mountain Ski Area. Local ski resorts say they've gotten a business boost thanks to the more frequent snowstorms this season.

The March snowstorms and cold weather that have been fairly consistent for several weeks appear to be a big help for ski areas in the region who are seeing a boost in business.

“Right now, all our trails are open, we are still making snow when we can,” said Melissa Yingling, marketing specialist for Blue Mountain Ski Area in Lower Towamensing Township. “We have seen an uptick in business mid-week because of the storms.”

Blue Mountain’s marketing efforts through its social media channels are focused on making sure people know how much snow the resort has, Yingling said.

Blue Mountain opened for skiing on Black Friday, and Yingling said she is not sure when the ski season will end.

“That’s all dependent on the weather,” she said.

All 39 trails are open, she added.

The goal is to offer skiing through the end of March each year, she said.

This year's weather and last year’s were similar in that February had a warming up period followed by an aggressive March. The big snowstorm in March last year provided a big jump in skiing at the resort but then died off, she added.

This year’s smaller, more frequent storms serve as a longer term reminder for guests that skiing is available at the resort, she said.

“The cold weather and snowstorms have definitely been helpful this ski season,” said Brian Bossuyt, vice president of marketing for the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau in Stroudsburg.

Many resorts in the Poconos have events going on in March, and this past weekend offered perfect weather for skiers, he added.

Pocono resorts also are trying to capitalize on the spring break season, which is in early April for many New Jersey and New York visitors. The Easter and Passover holidays also could provide a boost.

In the Poconos, the ski season could extend into next month.

“They are looking to extend their season through early April,” Bossuyt said. “Last year, we had that one storm in March, as well. I think this season will be about the same or better. I think it’s going to be a pretty good year for skiing.”

The 2017-18 ski season could be the best year for Pocono area resorts in the past five years, he added.

At Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Longswamp Township, business has been good, thanks to the snowy weather.

“The back end of February was abnormally warm,” said Jeff Zellner, marketing and public relations manager for Bear Creek. “With the return of the cold weather, it’s given us a boost in March. The biggest factor is the more frequent, smaller storms.”

The best marketing tool for the resort is natural snow. When people see it in their backyards, it makes them more inclined to go skiing, he added.

At Bear Creek, 20 of 23 trails are open, he said.

Before April 1, Bear Creek transitions into its spring/summer season of events, so it’s not known how much longer the ski season will last, he said.

“Every week that you go deeper into March, ski season decreases,” Zellner said. “Generally, the only thing that can give you a return is natural snow.”

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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