Ski business slow with no snow

Lately there has been no need for winter coats, hats and gloves, the usual attire for upstate New Yorkers, and the unseasonably warm weather has been unfriendly to one local family.

The Mulyca family, who own Maple Ski Ridge in western Schenectady County, is having a difficult year because of the 50-degree temperatures and virtually no fluffy white stuff in sight.

Carolyn Hart, owner George Mulyca's daughter, said, The weather is making life difficult -- that's for sure.

Making snow is even out of he question right now. Hart said in order to make snow that sticks around, the temperature has to be about 28 degrees with low humidity.

"This business is 100 percent weather-related," Hart said. "The weather affects so many things, and people don't even realize it."

Retailers aren't selling as many winter coats or snow plows, and ski resorts are losing money.

"When people look outside and see green grass on their lawns, they aren't thinking of skiing," said director of group sales and marketing Lorraine Moyer.

Despite the difficulties, Hart said she tries to stay upbeat.

"Everyone who owns a business that depends on the weather has the same type of horror story. We aren't special," she said.

Currently Maple Ski Ridge is holding on and remains open, with one trail and half of the bunny hill in good condition. The new terrain park has yet to open.

Usually the staff shoots for a Dec. 1, open date, but Moyer said this year, the business didn't open until weeks later.

"We are open, and we are doing the best we can with what we're dealt," Hart said.

Maple Ski Ridge has a few events planned for the upcoming weeks.

Moyer said the company's first food drive was cancelled because the business wasn't open yet.

The Ridge Goes Red, a fundraising event to benefit the American Heart Association, is scheduled for Feb. 2-3. Participants in the event are supposed to ski for 24 hours, so snow is required. Moyer and Hart both agreed that canceling the event is not out of the question, but everyone is operating as if it will take place.

Hart said Maple Ski Ridge is moving onto third-generation family ownership. Maple Ski Ridge is billed as the perfect place for family outings. Moyer said she knows plenty of people who grew up skiing down those hills and now bring their children and grandchildren.

"This place is a well-kept secret. Not many people can say they grew up with a ski park in their neighborhood," Moyer said.

Maple Ski Ridge is open Tuesday through Friday 3 p.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

"Do a snow dance," Moyer advised.


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