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Warm temps bad for tubing: Decision by Friday to close tube hill; ski slopes active


Snow conditions are good, though crunchy, for skiing at Snowhaven. Saturday’s attendance was down from the average; however, it still drew a steady stream of skiers.

Photo by David Rauzi
Snow conditions are good, though crunchy, for skiing at Snowhaven. Saturday’s attendance was down from the average; however, it still drew a steady stream of skiers.



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GRANGEVILLE –Sun worshipers may be enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures, but the rising mercury hasn’t been good for both snow levels and attendance numbers at Snowhaven Ski and Tubing Hill.

As a result, by this Thursday or Friday, officials will decide whether to close the tubing hill portion of the facility.

Winter recreationists can check updates at Snowhaven:

983-3866; or online at http://grangeville.us/snowhaven-ski-and-tubing-hill/ or their Facebook page.

“This is the worst snow I’ve seen,” said Scott Wasem, Snowhaven manager since 1999, apart from the 2004-05 season when there was insufficient snow to even open that year.

By last Sunday, Jan. 25, temperatures on the hill were around 50 degrees. Ground and rocks are starting to show, and it’s warm enough that a creek is running through the base of the tubing runs. According to Wasem, the average snow accumulations are just not there; where there is normally around three feet of snow on top by this time of year, for example, as of Monday it was at 20 inches. And it didn’t help at all that a warm rain followed on the heels of a snowfall of seven inches earlier this month:

“We lost eight to 10 inches right there,” he said.

Warmer temperatures in Lewiston and the lowlands are also contributing to reducing the facility’s numbers as folks’ interests are closer to home to enjoy the sun outside, according to Wasem.

So last Saturday saw around 110 to 120 tickets, dropping to between 30 to 45 on Sunday. For comparison based on the past seven to eight years, Wasem said a normal day is between 180 to 200 tickets, and their record year five years ago saw an “unbelievably hectic” approximate 600-ticket day.

“I like 200 to 250; that’s a good, solid day,” he said.

“But the ski hill side is still sitting pretty good,” he said, and money-wise the facility is near to running in the black for this season. But according to Wasem he has to wisely manage the city-owned and operated facility, so hill conditions and attendance will factor into his tubing hill closure decision.

As far as the weather forecasts, temperatures are predicted to remain warm into Thursday, and by Friday they should start dropping, according to Wasem.



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