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Warm weather gets cold response from resorts

December 24, 1997

Warm weather gets cold response from resorts

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Officials at area ski resorts are lamenting the warm weather during a week when they should be making a cool profit.

"While this is typically our busiest week, the weather has been atypical," Missy Merrell, spokeswoman for Ski Liberty in Fairfield, Pa., said Tuesday.

Only three of Ski Liberty's 16 trails are open, she said.

"We haven't been able to make snow on many nights. We're definitely dreaming of a white Christmas here," Merrell said.

At Wisp, in McHenry, Md., it's been rain instead of snow, said Clay Carlton, sales manager.

"They've predicted a break in the weather in the next 24 to 36 hours. We're supposed to get a few flurries on Christmas Day," he said Tuesday.

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Wisp has a base of from 16 to 40 inches of snow on nine trails, he said. The resort opens 23 trails when the weather cooperates.

Carlton said his trails have soft, crunchy "corn snow" on its surface.

"It's real loose. There isn't any powder, but it's not hard, either. Most East Coast skiers are used to hard pack or ice. It will firm up as the temperatures drop," Carlton said.

Wisp opened for the season on Nov. 11, a little behind schedule because of the warm weather, he said.

"We are expecting a good season this year," Carlton said.

Steve Rice, president of Whitetail in Mercersburg, said night-time temperatures have hovered between 26 and 27 degrees, a marginal temperature for snow-making machines.

The base on Whitetail's three open trails is 11 to 21 inches, he said. When it's cold enough, all 17 trails are open.

He said Whitetail could lose some business to the New England resorts if weather patterns don't return to normal soon.

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