While parts of the country have experienced extreme winter weather in recent months, much of the East Coast has gone without measurable snow this season.
After one of the earliest starts to its ski season, Mount Sunapee Ski Resort in New Hampshire had to close all of its trails that depend on natural snow, and recently upgraded its snow-making machines to adapt to the milder winter.
Without the machines, “it would definitely be a much shorter season,” said Mount Sunapee Resort General Manager Peter Disch.
Major cities along the East Coast have also been largely snowless this winter: New York City is experiencing one of its longest-ever snow droughts — 317 days and counting — and Washington, DC and Philadelphia aren’t far behind at 314 days.
The lack of snow is taking a financial toll from Maine to Michigan. Kalamazoo is experiencing its warmest January on record. In nearby Vicksburg, sales of ice-fishing equipment at a local shop have stalled.
“I stocked up on everything, just to get it stocked up and ready to go, and then we had 2 days of ice so far,” said Chuck Hodges, Manager of Double L Bait and Tackle.
Some climate scientists say conditions like these are part of a long-term warming trend, and more mild winters should be expected. The trend can also be tied to the extreme winter weather some parts of the country saw this season.
“It’s all connected,” said Mary Stampone, a New Hampshire state climatologist. “And the increase in the severity of extreme weather events are all tied into the overall global warming of our atmosphere.”
Despite the lack of snow this year, some skiers like Patty Anderson and Jill Ash have found a silver lining: less competition.
“There’s no snow to ski on, but there’s no crowds to contend with.”
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