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Local resorts ready for skiers to hit the slopes

SPRINGVILLE — With snow depths on the rise in Western New York, several local skiing, snowboarding and tubing locations are now open for business. Representatives at several locales said they expected to open more slopes and lifts, as the season progresses, provided the weather cooperates.

According to the unofficial monthly snowfall rate for Western New York that was compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the region saw 32 inches of snowfall in December 2010 – 11, 25 inches in 2009 – 10 and 49 inches in 2008 – 9. In 2011 – 12, the region saw 3.8 inches, the second lowest record in nearly 100 years. That month came in at a -16 variance below the normal December snowfall, of 20.4. Although data has not yet been released for December 2012, local resorts reported that they are opening late, this year.

Kissing Bridge Ski Resort in Glenwood opened for the season on Wednesday, Dec. 26, with limited slope options and correspondingly discounted lift ticket prices, until enough snow accumulated to allow full implementation. At press time, the central area with the beginner slope was open, with terrain expansion and snow-making initiatives to continue, throughout the week.

Peter Calleri, a marketing representative for Kissing Bridge, said that the resort is making snow and expects to open more hills by the weekend. Following 12 inches of snow that fell on Dec. 27, Kissing Bridge officials said that Colden Tubing Company is not open yet, but was expected to open on the weekend. Calleri said that facility tends to open later because it requires more snow to carve out paths.

“It’s not like at Chestnut Ridge, where you just go down and come back up,” he explained. “We need snow to literally carve out those paths, walls, banks and undulations, what we call the ‘whoop-de-doos,’ that make it so much fun.”

Calleri said that winter sports enthusiasts can visit the resort’s website at www.kbski.com for more information and updates, including open slopes and snow conditions.

Holiday Valley Ski Resort reported that, at press time, 28 hills and eight lifts are open, with a base snow depth of 4 – 20 inches, varying by location. A full list of which hills are open, with their designated difficulty levels and features, can be found online at www.holidayvalley.com/explore-our-mountain/ski-amp-ride-snow-reports.com.

Although the Holiday Valley Tubing Company had not yet opened by press time, representatives reported that it was expected to open this weekend, weather permitting.

Holimont Ski Resort opened on Dec. 25, with access to the Expo slope. The resort is expected to open Cascade, Wild Turkey, Sunrise and Meadow slopes on the weekend.

For non-skiers, Chestnut Ridge Park, located on Chestnut Ridge Road in Orchard Park, is open, during the winter, for tobogganing and sledding, weather permitting. The hills are currently open, and residents can call the Erie County Winter Sports Hotline at 858-8513 for updates and to learn which Erie County parks are accessible for winter recreation.

Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood also offers sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking, among other winter weather recreational activities. The Erie County Winter Sports hotline also provides information on the availability of those services.
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