Ski slopes could close if warm, wet weather continues - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ski slopes could close if warm, wet weather continues

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The recent rain melted away much of the snow on the slopes. The recent rain melted away much of the snow on the slopes.
MT. SPOKANE - On a bizarrely warm February Friday, Mount Spokane's air was nearly silent besides the pitter patter of unexpected precipitation.


Much of this winter has been defined by oddly warm weather, and a lack of snow. January brought a turnaround, with good powder, and a lot more skiers.

“We had about 1,000 more guests than last January,” Mount Spokane Marketing Director Kristin Whitaker said. “We were on a roll and had great momentum. This pattern is just coming out of nowhere.”

But the recent rain melted away much of the snow on the slopes. At the base of the mountain there's basically just slush. Those conditions, combined with the drizzle, led to a slow day – about a dozen total riders on the entire mountain.

“It's tough because February is usually the middle of the season,” Whitaker said. “It shouldn't be like this.”

As of now, there is still enough good snow to ski. John Drumm rents out ski equipment on the mountain. He says it's the lack of snow below that's really causing the lack of business at their altitude.

“They want to see snow in the valley, in town,” Drumm said. “That signals in their head there's skiing. Even though there's 2500 foot difference, and weather can be much different here than in town.”

But the recent wetness has melted enough snow to put the rest of the season in jeopardy. If enough melts away it could become a safety hazard, at which point the mountain would consider shutting down.

“It's a last case scenario,” Whitaker said. “But when safety does come up as a concern, we'll have to consider that.”

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