• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 29s

For seasonal businesses, snow is white gold

By KTVA Alaska 1:34 AM November 11, 2013

Despite slick roads; snow plows, tire shops and ski areas relish winter weather

ANCHORAGE – The first snowfall of the year blanketed the city Sunday, and while it may have caused headaches for drivers—to the tune of more than 150 collisions and distressed vehicle calls to police—the snow was white gold for seasonal businesses looking forward to winter.

“It’s great!” said a smiling Steve Remme with Hilltop Ski Area Monday. “We’ve been waiting for it. We’re ready to go. We’ve had a lot of phone calls and people are excited about winter finally arriving.”

He was standing near one of the three snowmaking machines currently dumping snow on the trails. There are eight on the premises, but he said it’s still too early—and too warm—to run them all. He said the weekend snow was a good first step, but it won’t be enough to get people on the slopes.

”I’d say we still have about a week’s worth of snowmaking to get us to getting one run open,” Remme said. That’s only if the temperature stays where it is, or gets colder, he added. “Maybe 10 days,” he said, smiling again.

The weather brought long lines to auto shops changing cars over to winter tires. Retailers like Costco have been busy every day since the first snow and ice fell Saturday. Customers were getting in line more than two hours ahead of the shop’s opening to ensure they got their tires changed, booking the shop through the day within an hour of opening.

Also relishing the snow was Alaska Snow Removal. “This is good!” laughed manager Wesley Schlueter. “We had an excessively long time to prepare for it this year around.”

Schlueter said crews spent the weekend spreading sand and ice melt, but when snow started falling Sunday, more than 30 workers spent the night clearing snow across the city. Monday, they were taking care of several 11th-hour customers.

”People are calling up at the last minute and saying, ‘Oh hey, I forgot! I need someone to sign up and plow for me this year!’”

The snow also means jobs at Hilltop, where nearly 90 seasonal employees get to work once the snow starts falling.

”Until the temperatures drop, I don’t have this winter job,” said Andrew Long, who mans the snow cannons at Hilltop. As he set up the third cannon Monday afternoon, he said despite the snow, the weather is still far from ideal. “When it’s between 10 and 10 below, we can form a 30-foot whale that’s 12 feet deep in [about] 16 hours,” he said. “When the temperatures are right, it produces a whole lot of snow.”

That’s leaving plow trucks getting rid of the snow as Hilltop hopes for more.

”When we start making snow, we go seven days a week, 24 hours a day, until we get open,” Remme said.

For some, the winter business is already here, but at Hilltop, they’ll have to keep making snow and hoping for colder weather to get the lift moving and skiers on the slope.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Community mourns lives lost in series of shootings, urges prevention

    by Liz Raines on Aug 26, 22:16

    After a deadly summer, people around Anchorage are hoping to turn things around. At least nine young men have been shot to death in the last three months. On Friday, dozens turned out for an anti-gun violence rally and vigil at The Drift Gallery Dance Studio. The event was organized by a grass roots group […]

  • Sports

    Week 3 of Alaska high school football

    by Dave Goldman on Aug 26, 22:13

    West 34  Chugiak 23 West High School broke open a close game in the second quarter, then had to hang on thwarting a late rally against host Chugiak High School at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium. The Eagles (2-1) took a 21-7 into the half as Qyntyn Pilcher found Turek Taylor for a 25-yard touchdown. The Mustangs […]

  • News

    Hiland Lullaby Project: Music to connect inmates and their children

    by Rhonda McBride on Aug 26, 22:04

    There’s something promising cooking at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for women. The recipe is simple. You bring women together –- both inmates and local musicians –- to compose lullabies. The artists record the songs on a CD, along with a personal message from the inmates. The result? A way for inmates to connect with […]

  • News

    Child struck by car severely injured, expected to survive

    by Megan Edge on Aug 26, 21:22

    A child who was struck by a car Friday evening and suffered “sever injuries” is expected to survive, according to Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Castro. According to Castro, police were notified that the child was struck in a trailer court near Fiji Street and Tonga Street  at 8:15 p.m. The child was riding a […]

  • News

    Whale carcass continues to degrade near Kincaid Park

    by Lauren Maxwell on Aug 26, 20:29

    A humpback whale that washed ashore in Kincaid Park is still there. High tides that lapped at the shoreline below the bluffs, near the motor cross track, have failed to move the giant carcass. But in the nearly seven weeks since the whale washed up it has deteriorated considerably. Bones are showing and the body appears […]

  • News

    Back on track: Alaska Military Youth Academy cadets celebrate graduation

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 26, 20:19

    For the last 22 weeks, Brandon Brown didn’t have access to his phone or the internet. At the Alaska Military Youth Academy, he was also cut off from his old way of life. “Before I came to the academy, I was kind of like your typical slacker,” said Brown. “This place really turned me around.” […]

  • Sports

    AFC fights to gain exposure through deal with UFC

    by Dave Goldman on Aug 26, 19:09

    This week the Alaska Fighting Championship (AFC) signed a deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for UFC to carry AFC matches on its “Fight Pass” platform digitally. AFC also sold its video library to UFC. “We’re really excited to make this deal with UFC, it was obviously a game changer for my career,” said AFC president Sarah Lorimer. So it […]

  • Weather

    Last 70-degree day of 2016? This weekend may be summer’s last hurrah.

    by Melissa Frey on Aug 26, 17:25

    The warmest weekend this month is underway across Southcentral Alaska. Many locations in the Matanuska-Susitna area and places across the Kenai Peninsula reached the mid-70s Friday. The high temperature in Anchorage will be flirting with 70 degrees both Saturday and Sunday. Mostly sunny skies and dry conditions are also expected across Southcentral. Anchorage typically records […]