Last winter, Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the ski industry. With snowfall totals down by about half and March temperatures soaring into the 80s, skier visits were off by more than 20 percent in the Northeast — the worst season in two decades.
The dismal results had ski areas worried that people would be skittish about hitting the slopes this season, which kicked off this month at many resorts. Some operators are using extra incentives and attractions to combat the dreaded “backyard effect” — if people don’t see snow near their homes, they are less likely to venture north, even if the slopes are packed with powder. But many resorts report season-pass sales so far are even with or slightly higher than last year’s numbers, and with the forecast calling for seasonably chilly temperatures and above-normal snowfall, they hope to tap into pent-up demand caused by last year’s short, rocky season.