Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Cortland/Ithaca

When it comes to cold, ski areas put safety first

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: When it comes to cold, ski areas put safety first
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When temperatures drop, ski areas need to make sure their customers and employees are kept safe. Our Elizabeth Jeneault caught up with the owners of two hills Wednesday who are taking steps to do just that.

UPSTATE NEW YORK -- There were no skiers or snowboarders to be found Wednesday evening at Dry Hill Ski Area. The lodge's chairs were up, fryers turned off and the bar was empty. The temperature outside was simply too low to risk having customers come in.

"Let's face it. Skiing is for fun recreation and there's no sense of taking chances for recreation and for fun," said Dry Hill Ski Area Owner Timothy McAtee.

With a wind chill of nearly 25 degrees below zero, frostbite is a major concern.

"Our first aid people and all our staff are always on the look out for it and unfortunately too a lot of people who come out in these temperatures are not prepared and not dressed correctly," said McAtee.

The ski resorts also make sure their employees are taken special care of when working in cold weather.

"We have a rotating system on our lifts and our snow tubing area where the guys are constantly moving so they won't stay outside for hours at a time in any one position," said Four Seasons Golf and Ski Center Owner John Goodfellow.

"There are inside, warm positions, outside cold positions and they're constantly moving," Goodfellow added.

And even when the chairlifts are back up and running, the cold may mean there won't be too many customers to ride them.

"It'll definitely deter business. People right now, with the big wind chill factor that everybody's talking about, it's going to keep people in," said Goodfellow.

And although the cold weather is definitely not that great for skiers or people working outside, it is good for one thing and that's producing snow.

Ski areas say they can produce nearly 400 to 500 percent more snow during a cold snap than they normally can.

Both Dry Hill and Four Seasons are hoping to be open to the public on Thursday, but encourage customers to check their websites before heading to the hills.

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