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The Telegram
  • On time winter start gives Old Forge businesses a boost

  • Winter arriving on time has given the Old Forge area the boost that it needs for the season.

    “It was such a relief after the non-winter last year,” said Mike Farmer, town of Webb tourism director. “This year we’re off and running, and it shows no signs of letting up.”

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  • Winter arriving on time has given the Old Forge area the boost that it needs for the season.
    “It was such a relief after the non-winter last year,” said Mike Farmer, town of Webb tourism director. “This year we’re off and running, and it shows no signs of letting up.”
    Even with warmer temperatures this past weekend, ski and snowmobile aficionados flocked to the hamlet to enjoy what the solid snowpack had to offer.
    Farmer said the snowstorm that hit immediately after Christmas day dropped about 17 inches on the area, mostly providing a heavy, wet snow.
    “All of that wet, heavy snow settled in when the temperatures got really cold,” he said. “We have a frozen base that is now holding the additional snow that we’ve gotten."
    Heavy, wet snow is the ideal winter precipitation because of the base, he said.
    On top of that, he added it’s been snowing a few inches every night.
    Even with threats of a wintry mix and rain, Farmer said the base should remain.
    “It’ll be cold enough to keep that stuff at night and like I said, when we get wet snow and sleet, it’s not pretty and it’s not fun to be out in, but it packs the stuff in,” he said.
    Christmas week was very good for area businesses, Farmer said, which is important because it’s about 40 percent of the winter revenue for some.
    McCauley Mountain has all of its ski slopes open, he said.
    When it comes to people skiing the mountain, Farmer said “I know we’re well ahead of where we were last year.”
    Furthermore, snowmobile permits are up about 15 percent from where they were last year, he added, noting that it was several thousand.
    RPM Snowmobile Rentals, on state Route 28 in Old Forge, has been “doing better” compared to last year, co-owner Windy Kelley said.
    “The weather was a little bit unpredictable last year,” she said. “We’re having our normal weather this year. When the weather is good, more people are likely to be into the winter spirit.”
    Even with the slightly milder temperatures this weekend, things have been good, Kelley said.
    Farmer recalled last year and the threat of having to close the snowmobile trails because the icy base was in danger of falling short.
    “We’d get down to that ice layer, and that never melted (last year),” he said. “That’s what we’re looking at now, only we have two feet of snow on top of that base layer.”
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