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North country ski conditions are ideal, but weather keeps resorts down

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It’s been snow, ice, low temperatures and more snow for the past month in the north country, but not all ski resorts in the region have benefited from ideal skiing conditions.

“This winter is crazy,” Dry Hill Ski Resort owner Timothy L. McAtee said Wednesday. “We’ve been open since the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I don’t think we’ve had one week of operation that didn’t get interrupted by snowstorms, ice storms or super cold temperatures.”

Mr. McAtee said that although he loves to see all the snow, storms, road closings and extreme cold have kept skiers off the Watertown resort’s slopes.

“It’s an old-fashioned winter,” he said. “It’d be nice to see some sunshine on the weekends so people can come and enjoy the snow.”

Mr. McAtee said that the natural snow without the storms, winds and subzero temperatures sometimes can draw more people to the slopes, but with unpredictable weather, man-made snow is a necessary base.

Big Tupper Ski Area at Tupper Lake hasn’t been able to open yet this year because it hasn’t had enough snow. Without a snow maker, the area is relying on Mother Nature, according to James M. LaValley, chairman of Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy.

“We’re not giving up,” he said. “We’re still holding out that we’ll get enough snow for skiing Presidents Day week, because the kids will have off of school.”

Titus Mountain Family Ski Center in Malone also is looking forward to Presidents Day week and upcoming Canadian holidays to boost business.

Marketing Director Dene A. Savage said the resort’s three mountains have been open and making snow since early December, and while the season was promising at first, business has slowed.

“January’s weather pattern made business worse than last year,” he said.

Some resorts, however, have no complaints about the weather.

At Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Turin, manager Judith E. Sweeney said the ski area has been experiencing a great season.

“We did some snow-making in December, but we haven’t needed to use the snow-making guns since then,” she said. “Because of Mother Nature we have more natural snow. It’s saved a lot of money on electricity.”

Ms. Sweeney said the area has had less ice and more lake-effect snow, perfect for many people who enjoy powder skiing.

“People from all over have been coming here to ski because they know we got a lot of snow,” she said.

Jon D. Lundin, New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority director of communication, said Whiteface Mountain at Lake Placid is experiencing an above-average year for weather conditions.

“We started snow-making in November and opened before Thanksgiving, two weeks earlier than we usually do,” he said. “It’s the second earliest opening we have on record.”

Whether experiencing a good or bad season, all the resorts share the same hopes for Presidents Day week.

“All ski areas have their fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate that week,” Mr. McAtee said.

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