JEFFERSONVILLE – A collective groan could be heard throughout the room as the weather forecast was announced. “Again?!” shouted a voice from the back. “Seriously?” called out another. The group of women and men gathered around a long table were all representatives from various companies involved in the making of artificial snow, and the news of further winter precipitation was yet another blow in what has been a difficult winter for the industry.
“We’re here to start to think about solutions,” said Faye Kittall, the owner of a business that services artificial snow making machines, as she called the meeting to order. “We know the issues. Ski resorts aren’t buying new equipment. They aren’t using the equipment they’ve got, so they also aren’t servicing it as often. The whole industry is struggling. The question is: what are we going to do about it?”
Murmurs of approval rippled through the room, although no hard and fast solutions were readily apparent. One man asked if there was a way to prevent snow from falling on Vermont’s most popular mountains and ski resorts but, although the fake snow folks are working on such technology, it isn’t ready for testing and is likely years away from practical use. Another man asked about the potential for using giant heat lasers to melt existing snow, but that was agreed by majority vote to be too conspicuous.
“If our partners and customers start thinking we don’t like snow, our businesses could be in jeopardy,” Kittall said. “But we’re all living on the edge here. I don’t think we can survive a whole season with daily snowfall. This polar vortex is freezing our assets off.”