Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Winter That Wasn't

Despite the somewhat up and down nature of this year's so called winter, area ski resorts have managed to provide ski and snowboard enthusiasts with a relatively good season.  Snow conditions fluctuate almost daily between machine groomed powder to granular or spring-like conditions.  Nonetheless, we have been able to enjoy some degree of reasonable on-hill activity which is something that can't be said by snowmobiling enthusiasts.
  For the most part of this winter area snowmobile trails have remained closed.  This has no doubt hurt not only snowmobile dealers but also restaurants and other businesses that typically obtain revenue from this winter activity.  For certain there are many people out there that have enjoyed the unseasonably mild winter but in general it's not good for business.  Retailers depend on the appropriate weather conditions to drive sales be it clothing, footwear, snow shovels or whatever.  The local Rona store is promoting a "No Snow Snowblower Sale."  Sales and profit margins both suffer when we have weather conditions that are out of sync with the norm.
  With an upcoming ski trip planned to Vermont I have been watching the snow and weather conditions at Stowe.  Average base depths are reported as being 24" to 36" on the runs with snowmaking. They typically might get that in just one snowfall!  For sure it's going to be a short ski/snowboard season so best enjoy it while we can.
  Georgian Bay has remained virtually ice-free all winter.  I own a cottage on Manitoulin Island just off Lake Huron.  My uncle lives two doors over from my cottage and has been an Island resident for 81 years.  Never has he seen such little ice which does not bode well for water levels this summer.  With little or no ice coverage the lakes have no doubt experienced greater evaporation this winter and the lack of snow means no significant run-off this spring.  Time will tell what the water level will look like come May and June but I suspect it will be down.      

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