I’ve been touching bases with winter sports and tourism people the last week, just to see how they’re doing, and the mood out there ranges from “hanging in there” to downright “ugh.” Particularly hard hit are snowmobile-related businesses.
More sleds are getting out on trails in some parts of the North Country and Vermont, but snow cover remains remarkably patchy to nonexistent in many areas. This from the Glens Falls Post Star.
Patti Stetson, owner of the Black Bear Restaurant in Pottersville, called the drop in business this winter “brutal.”
…Stetson, whose Route 9 eatery is on the North Warren Snowmobile Club trail system, said business is off 50 percent or so, which has forced her to cut back hours for staff members.
And with fewer customers, tips aren’t great for those who are working.
“We’re right down to a skeleton crew, and even the ones who are working are hurting,” Stetson said.
Similar pain is being felt in Vermont, according to the Burlington Free Press.
“It’s been a challenging winter,” said Alexis Nelson, trails administrator for the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers. “Winter is having an identity crisis,” she said.
As of this week, VAST is exactly halfway through its 16-week season, and only a very limited number of snowmobile trails are open.
There is limited snowmobiling in some high-elevation places, such as near Jay and Eden. “But you can’t do a 150-mile loop, and that’s what people like to do,” Nelson said.
NYSSA President Gary Broderick says the mild winter is having a major negative impact, first for snowmobiler’s fun, and second for the businesses that support the sport.He said, “it’s been a terrible year. It’s been very hard on the snowmobile clubs that build the trails throughout New York and it’s very hard on the business that support snowmobiling and benefit from snowmobiling across the state.”