Nova Scotia

Ski hills in Nova Scotia hoping for big snow

A certain group of Nova Scotians are praying that 2015’s snowstorms are just like last year’s.

Snow doubt flaky weather brings people to the slopes

A certain group of Nova Scotians are praying that 2015's snowstorms are just like last year's.

The weekly snow dumps of 2014 were great for business at the province's ski hills, encouraging people to take the gamble on buying season passes for this year.

Sales of passes are up 15 per cent at Ski Wentworth, said general manager Leslie Wilson. The ski hill starts offering early-bird passes in the spring, and last year people snapped them up.

"The passes always go up the following year after a good snow year," said Wilson.

"It's a trend that we pretty much know is going to happen every year, when they get excited."

Last year great for snow business

2014 had the fourth-highest annual precipitation in the Halifax area in the past 25 years, according to Environment Canada data from Shearwater. Near-weekly snowfalls starting in early winter ended with a huge spring storm in late March.

Snow-heavy years have always been followed by an uptick in customers the next season, going back 10 or 15 years, said Wilson.

Nova Scotians can't count on much when it comes to weather. But they'll be influenced by a string of good snow days, even after weeks of rainy, warm weather, like the poor beginning to this year's ski season.

"Every year's a little different," said Wilson.

"Things can turn on a dime and folks remember more of the end of the season than the early season."

It takes nine or 10 visits to Wentworth to make a season's pass cost effective. The hill has snow-making ability, but not on all runs. 

Nothing beats Mother Nature's snow.- Andy MacLean, Ski Martock

At Ski Martock, season pass sales have gone up steadily every year for the past few years, so it's hard to say that last year's blizzards were the main reason for current sales, said Andy MacLean.

Martock also sells season passes at a discounted rate in March, he said.

Last year "we saw an increase, but we had seen one the year before and the year before," he said.

Martock makes enough of its own snow to stay open during mild weather, but "we love having a storm every now and then as well," said MacLean.

"Because nothing beats Mother Nature's snow, that's for sure."

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