This was the case at West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain, whose Facebook site visits were “off the charts” and its call center inundated, says resort president Frank DaBerry. Sandy’s snow and fury, however, were not all good news for ski areas. Snowshoe got two feet of snow but suffered power outages that shut down snowmaking and hampered the ability to operate. “There’s no power within 50 miles of here, and the lights may not come on for another 24 to 36 hours,” DaBerry said on Wednesday. He stressed that keeping employees and skiers safe was his top priority. “People are fighting to prevent their pipes from freezing and to keep their families warm.”
The magnitude of Sandy has forced the issue of climate change back into the national media discussion, intensified by a presidential election being only days away. Experts say that no single storm or meteorological event can be directly attributed to climate change, but megastorms such as Sandy are the extreme occurrences that have been predicted by scientists studying the consequences of climate change. Such consequences include warming oceans and the corresponding increase in moisture, leading to not necessarily more storms or hurricanes, but increases in their ferocity.
While the snow is a blessing to some skiers, the ski industry must not gloat in the face of this disaster, says Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association. “These early snows are beneficial. Everyone wants to see winter arrive. There is a lot of pent up demand from skiers following last winter. In this case, however, the negative impacts of this storm are going to mask a lot of the benefits.” —By PAUL TOLME
Photo Courtesy of: Snowshoe Mountain