Regional ski resorts enjoyed an OK winter season, which was much better than last year.
In 2012, even though ski resorts could make mountains of snow, business was down because of the atypical winter weather. In 2013, even with a late start to the winter season, business picked up. So much so, both Holiday Valley and Peek 'n Peak were still open in the month of April. The slopes were closed at the Peak last week and Holiday Valley will be shutting down their winter fun today.
Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley marketing director, said the more typical Western New York winter made for better business this year.
Skiers and snowboarders at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville in December. Sunday will be the last day the resort’s slopes will be open for skiers and snowboarders.
"The 2012-13 ski season was significantly better than last year, primarily due to more favorable weather," she said. "In fact, we extended our season for an extra week. We decided to stay open until (today) because of the extensive snow cover and continued interest of skiers and riders."
Eshbaugh said with the bounce back winter season, the Ellicottville resort may receive more interest from skiers and snowboarders for next year.
"We're hopeful that it will result in increased sales of season passes and season-long programs next season," she said.
Brad Gravink, Peek'n Peak mountain operations director, said there was a late start to the winter season, but once it was going business was good.
"We didn't open until Dec. 23, so we lost a lot of December," he said. "We had a decent Christmas week. The warm weather in January (set us back) a little bit, but since Martin Luther King Jr. day we've had a strong year. The end of January, all of February and March have all been good."
Gravink said snow around spring break was also a plus for the Findley Lake resort.
"It helped a lot having snowy weather and having spring break in March," he said. "We had a couple good weeks with the kids being out of school. We don't get Easter in March often so that was a bonus."
Gravink said he doesn't know percentage wise how much more business the Peak did this winter compared to last year. He said it wasn't that the weather this year was great for the ski resort.
"Last year was the worst ever. It was a good season this year, but not a great season because of the late start and two weeks of warm weather in January," he said. "However, it was a far cry from last year when we were closed on March 16."
Less Johnson, Hollyloft Ski, Bike & Snowboard Shop owner, said business for winter gear flowed along with the weather.
"We were up and down with the weather. When we had snow we were busy. When we had a meltdown it was quieter," he said. "All in all, (business) turned out fine."
Johnson, whose business is located at 600 Fairmount Ave., said this year's winter business was better than last year.
"People were able to get out and do cross-country skiing and snowshoeing," he said. "People are still skiing now so it has been a long year."
Johnson said he has started selling bikes and spring accessories. He said there are rebate deals ongoing for Raleigh and Specialized model bikes.
"We get to a certain time, the first part of March, people are starting to think about bikes and lawnmowers. People are thinking about spring," he said. "When we get those first 60-degree weather days, people are in here looking for bikes."