MCHENRY, Md. (WJZ) — A warm and weird winter has made it a mostly snow-free pleasant change for many, but not for Maryland’s only ski resort. Alex Demetrick reports, the unusual weather forced the earliest closure ever for the ski resort in Garrett County.
Garrett County is usually cold and snowy in winter, and that kind of weather has kept the Wisp Ski Resort in business for decades, with skiing normally stretching well into March — but not this winter.
“Shutting down in February, which we have not done in the history of the resort after 61 years of operation. It has been one for the record,” says Lori Zaloga, Wisp Marketing Director.
Skiing is over now, because there is not enough winter left to cover trails with snow, which that has been a struggle since December.
“We saw three significant thaws throughout the winter. And two in January, and of course, this last one in February. We rebuilt our snow pack two different times. So it has been an extremely abnormal winter for us,” says Zaloga.
Not just for Maryland and Wisp. In Pennsylvania, White Tail has only eight ski trails opened out of 23. Round Top is fairing better with 15 out of 21 ski trails open. All three resorts make their own snow, and Wisp makes a lot of it but conditions must be just right. That takes low temperatures and low humidity. And with Deep Creek Lake for a neighbor, humidity is an issue.
“We had a massive body of water right next to our resort known as Deep Ceek Lake and in the winter time it poses a problem because it puts so much more moisture in the air, which brings the humidity factor into play,” says Zaloga.
This year, the lake did not freeze over, causing higher humidity and less snowmaking, ending winter play and work.