Winter tourism industry has hot season, even with bitter cold

Apr 1, 2014

While most of upstate New York is waiting for sunshine and warm temperatures instead of more cold and snow, the region's winter tourism industry is singing a different tune.

One of those spots is the Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, where co-partners Marc Stemerman and John Meier say business has spiked compared to last year.

"We're trending 20 to 25 percent above last year on skier visits. We're off to a record ski schedule. We're going to be open about 125 days, versus last year was about 108. And, you know, like john and I always say, one man's hell is another man's heaven.

Meier says a mid-season freeze has helped make up for lost time.

"You can never have enough snow. I don't know if we had a perfect winter, but we definitely had an exciting one, particularly coming off of what was it, two years ago when we had that really atrocious, really warm winter."

Although Stemerman and Meier attribute some of this year's success to the snow, they say improvements at the resort and the influence of the Olympics and X-Games also played a role. But skiers aren't the only ones who have enjoyed the heavy snowfalls and cold. Snowmobilers have been taking advantage of the late season snow after a slow start to the year.

Mike Schmid is the trail coordinator for the Fulton Area Snow Travelers club. He says although some trails in Oswego County are now closed, farther north the season is still going strong.

"There's a lot of snow on Tug Hill. And the advantage of Tug Hill and the Adirondacks, actually, is a lot of the trail riding is in woods and fields. There's very little road running."

He says in those areas the season could last until mid-April.

And although some people are insisting the season has lasted longer than usual, Schmid says for snowmobilers, it's been a fairly normal year.

"January started out slow, but then the snow came on and it's been pretty good. I'd say the total season is about average. Everybody thinks the season is going longer, but because of the late start, it's really not."

Schmid and others in the winter tourism industry may be hoping for more cold days ahead, even as temperatures are on the rise.