While the drought is not as bad across the mountains of the Southeast, it has at least affected the inauguaral season of Stone Mountain, Georgia’s "Coca Cola Snow Mountain". Last year we were contacted about the fact that the popular Georgia attraction was adding a snow park (see story). Then on October 2nd, 2007 Mike Duchock of Stone Mountain PArk Marketing wrote to tell me, "We are making snow at Stone Mountain!!! We turned on the snow machine yesterday and already have a nice mound of snow as you can see in the attached photos that were taken this morning. Feel free to share this info on your websites. I’ve also attached the latest press release. Our website for the attraction is up and running so check out www.SnowMountainPark.com for all the details on the attraction. I’d like to talk to you about some potential ticket give-a-ways on your website too."
THREE DAYS LATER…
Then on October 5th, we received this unfortunate communication, "We stopped snowmaking last Wednesday due to the historic drought that is effecting North Georgia. The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) notified the Park that snowmaking is not included on the list of Declared Drought Response Level Four exemptions (Other activities essential to daily business). We hope to identify a solution that meets the EPD’s requirements soon. I assure you that the Park is exploring all options for how we can still plan to bring the snow park to families this winter. We are temporarily postponing putting tickets on sale to the general public."
Now the park has made a final decision for this season in stating:
"Due to unforeseen circumstances related to the historic drought in northern Georgia, Stone Mountain Park regrets to announce Coca-Cola Snow Mountain has been cancelled this year. As a member of the community, Stone Mountain Park felt this would be the best decision at this time.
If you bought tickets via advance ticket offers, your credit card used to make the original purchase has already been automatically refunded. The refund should now be posted to your credit card. Should you have any problems, please contact 770-498-5600.
We appreciate your support of Coca-Cola Snow Mountain and we hope to entertain your family at Stone Mountain Christmas, open November 10 through December 30."
Portions of Georgia and Alabama are as much as nearly 30" below normal for rainfall over the last two years and that has obviously taken its toll on Stone Mountain.
Little Cloudmont Ski Slopes – in Alabama – NOT AFFECTED
We took the opportunity to speak with "little ski hill that could" and believe it or not old Jack Jones (the owner) and his son Gary are simply waiting for the ground to freeze and then they will make snow. I mentioned the drought and a rather cantankerous Mr. Jones replied, "Oh NO we got plenty ‘a-water’ and Gary makes the snow and as soon as its cold enough we’ll open." He seemed bothered when I chose to ask him if (for clarity) if they had enough water to keep snow on their small mountain. He stated, "Naw, we got a whole river out here. We’ll have plenty a snow."
He wasn’t one to talk much so he was chuckling a bit and asked me who I was again. When I replied (for a third time) that I was with SkiNC and SkiSoutheast, he chuckled a bit and wished me a good day.
"The Mont" as a lot of the SkINC messageboard crew calls the mountain, will be opening "as soon as the ground freezes. O-K-A-Y!
JUST TO WARD OFF THE HUNDREDS OF FOLLOWUP EMAILS…
Of the resorts that we have spoken with thus far, ALL report that making snow will NOT be an issue for the coming season. Some are more "water-rich" than others, but all seem to be in good shape. A couple DID mention that while they would have no problem making enough to get open, they did add that they may have enough to make snow for three to four days at a time, and then they would have to see how quickly their ponds "recharged" or refilled with the streams that feed them. Streams that flow substantially slower than normal will obviously take some time longer to refill holding ponds. So while we will keep our ear to the ground, it seems that all of the resorts in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland are in good shape.
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