The Times-Tribune

Area resorts prepping the powder

You may want to haul out your skis and keep them handy

- BY JEFF HORVATH STAFF WRITER Contact the writer: jhorvath@timesshamr­ock.com; 570-348-9141; @jhorvathtt on Twitter

In preparatio­n for the fast-approachin­g ski season, Elk Mountain Ski Resort fired up its snow machines Friday and several other resorts plan to start producing powder today.

An incoming weather system moving east from the Great Lakes region will bring freezing temperatur­es to Northeast Pennsylvan­ia this week and should provide “prime snow-making conditions” throughThu­rsday for area resorts, AccuWeathe­r meteorolog­ist Niki Lobiondo said.

Elk Mountain in Susquehann­a County, Montage Mountain in Scranton and Camelback Mountain in Pocono Twp., Monroe County, are seizing the opportunit­y. All hope to open their slopes by late November or early December, though officials said being the first to open is less important than providing a consistent product throughout the season.

“I think it’s more important to set the right expectatio­n and deliver on that expectatio­n,” said Montage Mountain marketing director Jeff Slivinski. “We want to actually open and ... be open for the entire season, not run into a situation where we open for a week and then the temperatur­es go up and we wasted energy, efficiency and some money burning out our staff.”

Montage Mountain, which opened in 1984, enjoyed its best revenue season on record last year thanks in part to favorable climate conditions. The mountain opened for Black Friday and logged more than 100 season days despite less than average snowfall totals, Slivinski said.

Elk Mountain made snow on about five or six trails Friday night into Saturday and plans to continue making snow this week. The resort will open when those trails are sufficient­ly covered and groomed, though Gregg Confer, the resort’s vice president and general manager, said an exact date has yet to be determined.

“We have a target date of December 5, and I would think we’ll definitely hit that this year if the weather gets cold,” said Confer. “Our season pass holders are already anxious . ... This is our 60th year of operation, so we have a good history of snow making, a good history of business. They know that we’ll offer a good product when we open.”

Typically Elk Mountain logs around 100,000 ski visits per year, he said.

Boasting 377 new, energy efficient snow guns, Camelback is prepared to make snow throughout the season assuming temperatur­es are sufficient­ly cold. The mountain is coming off a very strong season that saw it remain open until April 8.

“We always shoot to open Thanksgivi­ng weekend or by the first week of December,” said Camelback Senior Marketing Manager A.J. Stack.

Camelback will celebrate the impending season Saturday with Ullrfest, a ceremonial homage to the Norse god Ullr, who is often associated with snow and skiing. Running from 5-10 p.m., the event features a bonfire and the burning of wooden skis, along with a raffle, a costume contest, music and more.

 ?? JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? Adam Adelman, snowmaking supervisor at Montage Mountain, cleans out a water filter to a snow gun in preparatio­n for blowing snow this week.
JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER Adam Adelman, snowmaking supervisor at Montage Mountain, cleans out a water filter to a snow gun in preparatio­n for blowing snow this week.
 ?? JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER ?? Gary Fuller, director of snowmaking at Montage Mountain, gives the snow guns a general service check.
JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPH­ER Gary Fuller, director of snowmaking at Montage Mountain, gives the snow guns a general service check.

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