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Weather closes ski runs

January 09, 1998

By AMY WALLAUER

Staff Writer

This week's mild weather has taken area ski resorts on a downhill ride, forcing at least two of them to suspend operations.

Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, Pa., and Ski Liberty in Carroll Valley, Pa., both suffered this week when temperatures soared, snow melted and fog rolled in.

Whitetail closed Wednesday because of persistent fog and unseasonably warm temperatures. The resort hopes to reopen on Saturday, but only if conditions are nippy enough for snow-making: About 28 degrees.

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"It's very unusual for January," said Rachel Nichols, communications manager at Whitetail. "Even last year when we had the January thaw we were able to stay open."

Some trails have a 36-inch base, but Nichols said she couldn't foresee how many trails, if any, will be open by the weekend.

"We're going to need some good snow-making weather. We're just going to have to play it by ear," Nichols said.

Also closed Thursday was Ski Liberty, which usually has 10,000 skiers during a typical weekend.

"We're in the same boat as everybody else," said Missy Merrell, marketing director for Ski Liberty. "This definitely has not been a typical winter so far. We would be more than happy to see the return of arctic air."

Resort officials say skiers should call daily for snow conditions to make sure the resorts are open.

The mild weather was expected to move out of the area by late this weekend.

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