Low snowpack affecting skiers, ski business

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

Jordan Tursi came up to the Snoqualmie Summit for training to become a ski instructor. What does he think about the conditions?

"I think it's going to be a slow start to the season," says Tursi. "It's hard to ski when there's no snow out here."

When we checked, there were just about 10 inches of snow in the area near Snoqualmie Summit. That's the lowest snow total in mid-December in nearly a decade.

"I wish there was a little more cold weather along with some snow flying," said Eric Strickler, also at Snoqualmie Summit for ski instructor training.

But what is happening up there is having an impact down here in the lowlands for both skiers and the places they do business with.

We met Colleen Shea-Brown with her skis ready to be tuned up for an upcoming trip. The lack of snow at places like Snoqualmie Summit is sending her to Whistler in British Columbia.

"There haven't been really any good reports about snow even at Whistler," said Shea-Brown. "We looked at the forecast and it's about one centimeter a day for the rest of the week. And so we'll see what's there when we get there."

At Alpine Hut, business has been brisk but the impact is being felt here, too.

"You know we're still having a good season," said owner Kyle Fisher. "But you know the lack of snow definitely affects the average person's perception of whether there's skiing or not, even though Crystal and Stevens Pass are both open and have good skiing right now."

But Fisher thinks the snow will come.

"It's just a matter of when," he said. "And it's going to be a late one this year but it'll be good. It'll come."

After all, it isn't even winter yet.