• 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

    Sullivan: Top Army official’s visit a step toward maintaining Alaska’s troops

    by Emily Carlson on Feb 12, 0:14

    The U.S. Army’s most senior uniformed officer spent Wednesday and Thursday in Alaska on a fact-finding mission. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, was at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Thursday reviewing the 4-25 Airborne Brigade — a group of 2600 soldiers the U.S. Army said they were cutting back in July. In October, the cuts […]

  • News

    After 4 years, 50,000 miles, traveler denied U.S. visa to finish Alaska adventure

    by Daniella Rivera on Feb 11, 22:12

    We live in a place that people around the world dream of visiting, but not everyone would go to the lengths one man did to get to Alaska. Ben Jamin, not his real name, has been traveling the world for the last 7 years. But perhaps his biggest adventure started when he bought a Volkswagon […]

  • Politics

    Lawmakers put off final decision on Anchorage LIO lease

    by Liz Raines on Feb 11, 21:01

    On Thursday evening, the Alaska Legislative Council, a joint-committee that makes recommendations to the rest of the legislature, zeroed out it’s recommended budget for the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. “We’re done, it’s a done deal,” said Sen. Peter Micciche after the meeting. Sen. Gary Stevens, chair of the Legislative Council, moved to appoint an independent […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage Opera heads to rural Alaska to perform Inupiaq adaptation of ‘Hansel & Gretel’

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 11, 18:31

    The Anchorage Opera is taking its show in the road. It has partnered with the University of Alaska Anchorage Opera Ensemble to put on a performance called “Aklaq and Nayak,” an Inupiaq adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. It’s the first production in the opera’s education touring program called “AO-2-Go.” With funding from the Nome Arts […]

  • News

    Officials: Barrow man pointed shotgun at police before being shot, killed

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 11, 17:14

    BARROW — The North Slope Borough released new information Thursday in the officer-involved shooting death of 36-year-old Vincent Nageak III. Police were called to a home at the 7400 block of North Star St. in Barrow Wednesday at around 3:30 a.m. Upon arrival, the person who made the 911 call, as well as children inside […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Battle over our PFD – Will it be ice cream or gas?

    by John Tracy on Feb 11, 16:14

    Would you give up your PFD check if it was needed to balance the state’s budget?  Here’s what I want you to imagine: A car is 20 miles from home and almost out of gas. In the car are mom and dad, and three kids in the back seat. They have two dollars. They can […]

  • Lifestyle

    GM recalling 473,000 trucks and SUV’s for brake pedal problem

    by Associated Press on Feb 11, 15:22

    General Motors is recalling more than 473,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because the brake pedals can come loose and fail to work properly. The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD and Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles. GM says a nut on the brake pedal pivot mechanism […]

  • News

    Muni questions AST on future law enforcement along Turnagain Arm

    by Bonney Bowman on Feb 11, 14:58

    The Anchorage Muni is asking Alaska State Troopers to clarify their role in enforcing the law along Turnagain Arm. Municipal Attorney William Falsey sent a letter to AST, which asserts that state law requires troopers to enforce laws anywhere there isn’t a local police force. APD jurisdiction currently ends at McHuge Creek. Troopers have said […]