Weather Crippling Mountain Resorts

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ASHLAND, Ore. – The roller coaster weather conditions this winter are impacting tourism in the area during one of the busiest times of the year, especially for businesses in the mountains.

Mountain resorts say the extreme winter weather earlier this month cut into their business, and now it’s the lack of snow that is keeping people away.

Managers with Callahan’s resort near Mount Ashland says business is down 12% from last year — making for one of the worst Decembers they’ve ever seen.

That’s mostly because the extreme winter weather earlier this month kept people at home. But skiers and snowboarders represent about a quarter of their business each winter – and they won’t be coming until the mountain opens.

“That of course hasn’t happened this year, and it looks like it will be this way well into January,” said resort manager Ron Bergquist. “So it’s going to be a tough time from that standpoint.”

But the same factors that are crippling mountain resorts has downtown tourism businesses thriving.

The Ashland Springs Hotel says their business is up from last year. And the same goes for tour guides.

“Since we all got over the trauma of the ice and snow, a lot of people have been calling and coming out,” said Kim Lewis, owner of Main Street Adventure Tours. “They want to have fun. It’s the holidays.”

But while both the snow and the sun-seekers seem to have abandoned the mountains for now, resorts say there’s a lot of winter left.

And they’re hoping their luck is about to change.

“We are going to have fabulous weather now for the next three weeks that we can look forward to,” said Bergquist. “We’re going to balance out pretty much I think.”