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Late-season storm hits pocketbooks

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Mary Hutchings of Cortland trudges through the snow, past Bru 64, one of several businesses that posted signs saying they closed for the day due to the snow storm. BELOW: Patti Dintino of Cortland clears snow from her car on Court Street during the storm.

As snow grew from inches to feet within hours, roads closed, schools closed and more followed, but not everyone was burdened by the latest nor’easter Tuesday.

For some businesses — ski centers, syrup producers and even some restaurants — the snow and cold weather were welcomed with delight, delaying for a while the mindset of spring “We could not have asked for a better time,” said Kaitlyn Drach, marketing manager for Greek Peak Mountain Resort. “We just launched our season passes, which skiers can use now and into the next ski season.”

Skiers could buy the passes at the beginning of the month and could have used them since Monday. With schools closed, and many business too, Drach said many families were at the resort on Tuesday.

“It was a much better turnout than expected,” she said. And with heavy snow fall predicted today, too, a good attendance could continue.

Ski season at the resort usually ends around the first week in April, so the snow storm has not extended the season, Drach said. Instead, it has boosted interest. Some people were beginning to think more about golfing season, she said, but now the visions of fields of green are replaced with towering white slopes.

“Our social media has lit up,” Drach said. “People are happy to get back to skiing more.”

Pete Harris, owner of Song Mountain and Labrador Mountain ski centers, echoed Drach’s comments. The snow is helping a lot, not by extending the ski season, but “improving excitement.” And it’s certainly better than last year, when Cortland saw about 18 inches of snow —for the entire season.

Last year, the season ended on March 12, Harris said. This snow fall should help to keep the resort’s skiing open until the end of the month — the typical ski season’s end.

“We’re looking forward to new snow,” he said. “It will re-excite the base. I expect more people to be back skiing and snowboarding.”

Especially because skiing slowed down a little bit in February when a few warm days turned minds toward spring. Harris said it seems like February and March “flip-flopped” as March usually brings the warmer weather and February the cold.

The colder weather is a blessing for maple farms, too. The low temperatures hold the sap in the roots of the trees, which is good for tapping the trees, said John Ensign, owner of Ensign Family Maple Products. When the weather warms up, the sap sours and he is done for the year.

This added span of cold weather helps to make up for some of the warmer days in February, he said. Like the ski resorts, the snow storm is not extending his season. It is just giving it a boost. He is normally finished by the first or second week of April, but said it is hard to predict what the weather will do.

Some local eateries also benefited from Tuesday’s snow storm, seeing an influx of
customers.

Around noon, Central City Bar and Grill manager Toshia Randall said many customers were calling to see if the business at 17 Central Ave., was open before heading over.

Mike Grossi, owner of Spiedini’s Pizza Parlor, at 105 Main St., reported nonstop delivery orders until about 2 p.m. And he had no intentions of closing early, either.

“We’re just going to sit here and answer phones,” Grossi said.