By Kristina Rex

PRINCETON (CBS) – Remember all the crazy snowstorms we’ve had in Massachusetts this winter? Yeah…neither do dedicated skiers.

While some may be praying this relatively warm weather with on and off rainstorms lasts all winter, ski mountains are finding ways to stay open and active – with a pretty price tag.

“I mean, sticker shock,” said Carolyn Crowley Stimpson, the co-owner of Wachusett Mountain in Princeton. In the last year, the mountain has doubled its snow making capacity.

Wachusett Mountain in Princeton (WBZ-TV)

Now, machines can pump out 9,000 gallons of water-turned-snow a minute. “We spend a lot of money on snow making, but we know it’s the most important thing,” Stimpson said. She told WBZ the price tag can exceed $100,000.

While Mother Nature may not have delivered the real powder yet, skiers at Wachusett don’t seem too disappointed. “It’s amazing what they can do with the amount of snow that comes down, and what they can make with the conditions,” said Jay Lussier of Spencer. He and his wife ski at the mountain Monday through Friday each week.

Snowboarder at Wachusett Mountain (WBZ-TV)

Others at the slopes let the murky weather keep them away. Eileen Wrabel of Boston and her friends were hitting the mountain – as season pass holders – for the first time on January 4th. “I’m a little worried,” she said. “I’m scared it might be a little icy. But we know what we’re doing.”

Co-owner Carolyn Crowley Stimpson says it may surprise some to learn that any precipitation often keeps people off the mountain. Yes, even snow. “That’s a killer,” she said. In her opinion, those days are the best to ski. “I mean the best time to ski is when the forecast is bad because nobody will come.”

The ideal weather, according to Stimpson, is cold and dry. Even if it’s not snowing, she says it’s OK. Those conditions are perfect to get the machine made snow on the ground, ready to be shredded.

Kristina Rex


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