Warm, wet weather preventing Squaw Mountain from opening

Warm weather and rain have caused green grass to show through many places of Squaw Mountain Ski Resort in Big Moose Township on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.
Courtesy of Amy Lane
Warm weather and rain have caused green grass to show through many places of Squaw Mountain Ski Resort in Big Moose Township on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.
By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 01, 2013, at 10:55 a.m.

BIG MOOSE TOWNSHIP, Maine — Big Squaw Mountain Ski Resort has one final hurdle to leap before it can open — the weather.

The resort’s ski lift passed its load lift test on Wednesday, according to the operator, but rain and warm weather have left the ski hills with green areas of grass in spots.

“There’s more snow than grass, but it’s a pretty close ratio,” Amy Lane, president of the Friends of Squaw Mountain, said Thursday.

Lane said the resort will not open until the area receives more snow. The mountain does not have snow-making equipment.

“I’ve never watched the weather more in life,” said Lane. “There’s a small chance of snow on Sunday, but a possible snow storm on Tuesday.”

Otherwise, the mountain is ready for skiers and snowboarders.

“The inspector and service technician [to the ski lift] were so impressed with how efficient it was,” she said. “We’re at the lodge ready to open the doors, but the weather is against us.”

The Friends of Squaw Mountain leased the resort from owner James Confalone for $1 this season. The lower eight trails of Big Squaw Mountain, which was renamed Big Moose Mountain by the state, will be open to skiers and snowboarders when conditions permit. The upper trails will remain closed.

If the area receives snow next week, Lane said she predicts the mountain will open on Feb. 9.

Until the mountain opens and generates revenue from lift tickets, the Friends of Squaw Mountain are struggling for money, she said.

“We’re almost out of money. This lift inspection and repair is going to set us back almost $5,000,” said Lane. “We’re still actively fundraising. We’re hopeful that lift ticket sales take place as soon as possible.”

Regardless, Lane said everyone has been optimistic.

“We’re absolutely ready to go. It’s winter in Maine. We know we’ll get snow, it’s just a matter of when,” she said.

Those wishing to make donations to the fundraising group may visit skibigsquaw.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/01/news/piscataquis/warm-wet-weather-preventing-squaw-mountain-from-opening/ printed on July 25, 2014