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Big Bear ski resorts pray for snow, cold

December 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
'Tis the season to hit the slopes. But without a snowflake in sight, ski resorts in the local mountains are weathering a major rough patch. Mother Nature and the ailing economy have the busy resort town of Big Bear looking more like a ghost town. With the sun shining, it's a beautiful day at Big Bear Lake. Just not the kind of beauty you'd expect this time of year.

"I mean here we are in the beginning of December and we kind of expect cold weather, snow, and we haven't gotten either one of those yet," said Chris Riddle, Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

Up at the mountain ski resorts, workers are still in shorts and shirt sleeves. Snow-makers aren't making snow. Ski lifts aren't lifting skiers.

Snow Summit usually opens mid-November. Now it's Decemeber and seasonal employees are still waiting for the call to come to work.

Sure, we're in a recession. But the lack of snow up here is making it even worse.

"Nothing's going to be going on until we get snow, because that's really what the economy is based on in the mountain," said Riddle.

At about 2 p.m. in Big Bear Lake Monday, temperatures were pushing 60 degrees. That's just way too hot for resorts to even think about making snow, and that also means problems here for local businesses.

"Not seeing a lot of action really, this last weekend, being the holiday weekend of the year. We did all right, but the snow would have brought a lot more customers of course. We're lacking snow," said Tina Ginter, store manager, Leather Depot.

Ginter said most businesses are telling her the same thing. It's just as barren inside the stores as it is outside. Until that first major snowfall.

Back at Snow Summit, they're practicing the power of positive thinking.

"Once it happens, it will happen quickly, and we'll say, 'Wow, that was a bad dream from the past and now we're into the season and move forward,' " said Riddle.

All it takes is about two days of cold temperatures and dry conditions, and they say they'll be open for good.


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