2016/17 Ski Season Recap
50” More than Average Snowfall; 116 Days of Skiing & Riding
By Chad Neal
Another ski season has passed in Ellicottville. This little resort town enjoyed another successful run. The amount of ski days at Holiday Valley surpassed last years by over two weeks. The weather was testy, but the temperatures allowed the snowmakers at both resorts to make “piles for miles” early in the season and the Snowcat drivers smoothed them out to make thick bases for the powder days that followed, bringing happy visitors, new and seasoned to Ellicottville. The Christmas season was a bit on the green side, but the snowmakers proved their skills and the slopes were painted white on the hills, and could be seen as you come into town. Every weekend was busy at the resorts and in the village. Jane Eshbaugh Director of Marketing at Holiday Valley sent the Villager an email giving a recap of this past ski season:
“This was a year of ups and downs, but it averaged out to be…average and much better than last year. Although we had more than our share of weather cycles, we had a great amount of natural snowfall, 230 inches which is 50” more than average, so we had some awesome powder days. Last year’s snowfall was a mere 117”. We were able to make almost 5 feet of snow on all our snowmaking slopes over the season. We opened for a “preview” on November 26-27, then opened for the season on December 10, closed April 2 for a total of 116 days of skiing and riding, compared to 98 last year. So overall we are happy with the season and ready for golf and Sky High.”
Like Eshbaugh said we had our share of ups and downs. The usual January thaw depleted some of the snow, but the pack was thick enough to stay stable for the long season. We also had a February thaw that was unusual, but the slopes survived through that as well. The end of the season showed some higher temperatures, and then a few more dumps of the frozen precipitation. The season wouldn’t have been as prosperous if it hadn’t been for the technology of snowmaking. And the enthusiasm the snowmakers have is over the top. The appreciation is grand as well, Villaggio on Monroe Street is hosting the Snowmaker’s Ball on April 21. Lords of Snow is the title for the annual event. Starting at 6pm the party honors all of the hard working “friends who make the snow”. Villaggio wants to “make it rain” for them.
Now the time is dubbed “mud season”. In between the ski season and the warm spring and summer season with plenty of outdoor activities to be had in Ellicottville. The mountain biking trails will be rideable soon, and Sky High Aerial Adventure Park at Holiday Valley will be open on weekends soon too, and Memorial weekend will see the opening of the pool. Although there is still quite a bit of snow on the slopes for the hikers to poach some runs, it will melt quickly and the warm weather months are upon us. A lot of folks are vacationing, but they all know coming home is just as great when you live in Ellicottville.