Back on the Slopes

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HERRICK TOWNSHIP -- After a brutal season last year for the ski industry, it's time to hit the slopes again.

The weather has been cold enough for some ski resorts to open this week.

Elk Mountain in Susquehanna County opened Tuesday much earlier than last season when the weather was just too warm.

From the top of Elk Mountain, things are looking as they should for mid-December in northeastern Pennsylvania.

With some man-made snow on the trails, skiers and snowboarders are back for another year.

"I didn’t get out much last year. I was down to get out first day this season. I’ve been out since 8:30 this morning and been snowboarding here ever since," said Scott Lobdell.

It was too warm to make snow last December which caused the ski resort to miss out on business over the holidays.

"The holiday last year we opened in January, so it was a tough year last year. We had good skiing, but it was a really tough year for us," said Elk Mountain General Manager Gregg Confer.

Elk Mountain wasn't taking any chances this season and purchased 13 new state-of-the-art snow guns, which because of the temperatures it’s made it possible for the ski resort to open well before Christmas.

"They made a big difference, but our crew has really worked hard and they deserve the credit," said Confer.

Crews have been making snow since Thursday. Seven trails are open now with more to open by this weekend.

"Huge, huge difference. Natural snow, conditions are great. Weather’s beautiful. It’s awesome," said Kathy Stone of Clarks Summit.

"Last year it was probably the shortest season they ever had, but this year looks good. It’s early and snow’s good on the first day good base, way ahead," said Joe Rudalavage of Eynon.

Not to mention this year, Elk Mountain hopes to make good on its 100-day guarantee on season lift tickets. Last season fell short by 30 days and means a discount for those same season ticket holders this year.

And of course, the ski season is totally dependent upon the weather which so far looks to stay cold for the near future.

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