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Snow Business Gets Slow Start To Season

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It may be starting to feel like winter in the Twin Cities, but it is not really looking like it with the lack of snow.

With snowfall totals well below normal, ski hills had a late and slow start to the season.

The weather has been cold enough to make snow, but Mother Nature will have to drop more real snow for more skiers and snowboarders to get the itch to hit the slopes.

“A lot of our activities are based around the snow and when it’s not here, you lose a part of that. It really stinks,” said Brian Kilberg who was at Buck Hill while home from college for winter break.

Kilberg and his friend Chris Lauth came to the hill, not sure if they’d have enough snow to ride.

“The snow just hasn’t really been here this year, and since it’s a cooler day we were coming up and hoping for snow,” said Lauth.

The general manager of the Burnsville hill, Don McClure, said snow depths in some places are at 10 to 12 feet.

“If you took all the natural snow the Twin Cities get in an average year which is about 50 inches, that’s nowhere near enough to run a skiing operation,” said McClure.

Although, snowfall totals are down 16 inches in the Twin Cities this year, McClure said no matter what they’d be making snow. He said they can cover the 16-run hill in about 24 hours.

“Snowy year or no snowy year, we’re still making snow,” said McClure.

According to the U of M’s Tourism center, winter accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourism in the state. That includes snowmobiling which contributes nearly $130 million to local economies.

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