Drought hurting ski areas in New Mexico
January 31, 2018 05:16 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Ski resort operators throughout the state are having to adapt to survive this warm and dry winter season.
Chopper 4 shows the big challenge they're working through. According to Ski New Mexico, Ski Santa Fe has only about 15 to 20 percent of its normal snow. Ski New Mexico Executive Director George Brooks said ski areas throughout the state have seen about 30 percent fewer visits so far this season.
It's no wonder this is the case. More than half of the state is slipping into a severe drought with no relief in sight. The last time it was this rough on ski operators was back in 2005.
That is not stopping resorts from doing all they can to attract winter sports enthusiasts. That means making their own snow, but it comes at a price. Some smaller ski areas spend up to $3,500 in a 24-hour span to make and maintain snow. Larger ski areas are spending $8,000 to $10,000 every 24 hours.
Other states like Colorado and Utah are suffering as well. Brooks said a decreasing number of skiers nationwide contributes to the problem as operating costs continue to rise.
Another issue is fighting a perception problem that there is no snow at all. Brooks said that's not the case. While it's true that there are a limited number of trails open, Brooks said they're exceptionally well-tailored and groomed.
So what are resorts doing to survive these lean years? Brooks said ski areas have started developing summer recreation areas to make up the difference. In the meantime, they're relying on all New Mexicans to visit during these lean times.
Updated: January 31, 2018 05:16 PM
Created: January 31, 2018 03:46 PM
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