Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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BLOWING ROCK, NC (WBTV) -
"It's still early," said Appalachian Ski Mountain's Brad Moretz as he walked on a closed, muddy ski slope Thursday morning. The slopes were open for a short time this season already but there were no skiers there this day.
The weather has been up and down in recent weeks with more warm weather than cold.
"Until we can get some cold weather and make some snow," said Moretz, "We won't be open."
Most ski areas have been open for at least a short time this fall. Only Sugar Mountain's slopes were filled with skiers Thursday but folks at all the resorts are optimistic. "We still plan on skiing until March 25," said Moretz.
At Sugar Mountain, Günter Jochl is confident this will be a prosperous season. "It's early, we're good," said Jochl.
Sugar Mountain opened on Halloween, the earliest it ever has. They've had to shut the slopes down for just two days since then but still have not gotten to full staff. Officials say when the crowds come, the jobs will come too.
"We will get there," said Jochl. There are folks working at the lift lines and skating rink and the tubing areas too and more will be punching time clocks with them as the season progresses.
Area restaurants and shops are hoping the ski season is strong as well. At Woodlands restaurant in Blowing Rock, owners Butch and Gina Triplett said they haven't seen many skiers this season yet but are hoping the tables will be filled with them before too long. "It is very important," said Butch.
Other shops from clothing outlets to ski rental facilities depend on the traffic coming through. Most are not worried yet since it is just the first week of December. Some colder weather is expected by the middle of next week and merchants are hoping it will be the start of a long winter tourist season.