Not much has flown yet, but businesses are preparing for winter's arrival and a typical Western New York snowfall.
Les Johnson, Hollyloft Ski, Bike & Snowboard Shop owner, said it takes a month for his store to change from selling summer merchandise to winter snow accessories.
"Being a two-season store, we have to completely change over from bicycles and summer activities to winter," he said. "It takes us a month, a month and a half to change over. By the time colder weather is here, we're ready to go with winter stuff."
Snowboards available at Hollyloft Ski, Bike & Snowboard Shop in Lakewood. Hollyloft has several new or used skis, snowboards and equipment available to purchase or have serviced for the winter season.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
Skiers, likes the ones pictured above enjoying a trip down the mountain at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville last winter, are hoping Western New York receives its fair share of snow this year.
With the atypical winter Western New York experienced last year with rainy, warmer weather, Johnson said it did affect how he prepared his Lakewood business for this year's winter.
"You don't know what the next season is going to be so you buy conservatively," he said. "We buy accordingly, cut back where you have stuff and add what you need to add."
Johnson said no matter what the season will bring, people want their winter items prepared for snow.
"Our services, whether we have snow on the ground or not, is something that always needs to be done," he said about ski and snowboard tuning. "Also, it is the same way with bikes. We work on them year-round."
Even though it might not have looked like a normal winter last year, there was always plenty of snow at the local ski resorts. Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley Resort marketing director, said no matter what your backyard looks like, there is plenty of snow at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville.
This winter on-mountain improvements at the resort includes the installation of automated snowmaking systems on Yodeler, Morning Star and Candy Cane slopes. The automated systems include weather stations that monitor temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed. The goal of automation is to increase efficiency and energy savings while providing the best possible manmade snow.
"All the guns are controlled by a computer, so all can turn on at the same time and be turned off at the same time," Eshbaugh said. "With the weather, sometimes you only get an hour or two to make snow. With a manual system, it would take so long to turn them all on and then turn them all off."
Eshbaugh said everyone at Holiday Valley is anticipating a cold and snowy winter this year.
"If you are in the ski business you have to be an optimist, so we are expecting a great winter," she said. "The expansion with the automated snow making systems, no matter what the weather is we will be on top of our game when it comes to making snow."
Pati Centi, Chautauqua Suites Hotel & Expo Center general manager, said she has the same attitude that the area will experience a great winter full of snow and cold temperatures.
"Our biggest hope is that we get a lot of snow and it is cold so we can build the ice castle and prepare for winter tourists," she said. "We are always ready for people no matter what. Like this weekend we're going to be full with the Olympic gymnasts and ice skaters staying with us."
Centi said to entice people to plan trips to Mayville before the snow flies, they offer specialty packages to guests.
"We have our winter stay-and-play packages. We're connected to snowmobile dealerships, so when snowmobilers come they can have their machines serviced here and we have a local group that rents snowmobiles to people," she said. "We have packages for the Winter Festival weekend. People can come and enjoy the ice castle. They can also come another weekend and enjoy the Chautauqua Institution with their sleigh rides. We bundle the packages together with a nice dinner at Olive's or Bellini Lounge, which are nestled inside Chautauqua Suites."
Ben Webb, Webb's Captain's Table and Year-Round Resort manager and banquet coordinator, said last year's warmer winter doesn't change business preparations for his business this winter. However, he said the lack of snow last year probably taught some business owners how important it is to have a typical Western New York winter.
"There is nothing you can do about Mother Nature. No question though a good snowfall has a positive impact and a positive effect," he said. "A lot of people who didn't think they were affected by snow recreation, winter tourists, got an idea how affected they are when it snows."