Ski resorts look forward to New England blizzard
The $6 billion industry needs a strong rebound from last year's disastrous season.
If there's any good news about the blizzard expected to wallop New England this weekend, it's this: The region's ski resorts could rebound from one of the worst seasons in years.
Last year, the $6 billion ski industry had its worst year since 1991 because of the unusually mild winter in most parts of the country. Snowy weather puts people in the mood to ski and snowboard, while warmer spring-like weather does not.
Ski resort officials are buzzing about the upcoming storm. Calls to Vermont's Killington Resort have increased in the past day or so, according to Sarah Thorson, a spokeswoman. "Additionally, people are extending their stays or booking a stay for the weekend," she wrote in an email. She expects the new snowfall to allow the resort to open more terrain to skiers.
Exactly how this blizzard may affect the broader economy is hard to say. Forecasters from the National Weather Service report that the region could be walloped by one to two feet of snow between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. Snow drifts of as much as four feet are expected for a storm that is being referred to as "historic."
New England airports are preparing for possible flight cancellations and delays, and airlines have already begun issuing winter-weather flight waivers. Normally, many airlines charge fees of $150 or more to change tickets, USA Today reports.
NSTAR, a New England utility, has asked all of its 3,000 workers to be on storm duty, according to MyFoxBoston. Widespread power outages are to be expected. Cash-strapped local governments will also have to find a way to shoulder the additional costs of snow removal. Schools may have to be closed next week as well.
Officials are urging area residents to stay off the roads. "This is a very serious storm that is developing," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a press release.
Sales could get a short-term lift as residents in New England stock up on provisions such as milk, eggs and bread in the event that they are snowed in for a few days. They are likely buying lots of batteries and road salt as well.
--Jonathan Berr wishes his friends in New England the best of luck. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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