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Warm weather shakes up tourism

By Dave Detling 10:20 PM January 27, 2014

Anchorage experiencing temperatures in the 40s

ANCHORAGE – The Last Frontier is off to a steamy start this year with temperatures in the upper 40s and some areas projected to push close to 50 degrees Tuesday.

“Maybe somebody didn’t tell Mother Nature that it was supposed to be cold outside,” said Arthur North.

North hit Glen Alps Trailhead with Katlyn White. The pair said the winter weather comes as a shocker, but that didn’t stop them from dressing for the occasion.

“Usually we have like two sweaters, a raincoat, real pants,” said White, referring to her white cutoff shorts. “There’s usually tons of snow and it’s really, really cold, but this winter’s nice. It’s pretty mild.”

The warm weather has impacted the ski community in and around Alyeska Ski Resort.

According to the resort’s website, the lifts and slopes are shut down for the “next several days, citing “unseasonably warm temperatures.”

Will Golemon, who is visiting from Colorado, experienced the poor ski conditions firsthand.

“It’s nice but it felt like spring skiing,” he said, referring to his $2,500 ski trip.

With less than perfect conditions Golemon spent at least one night at Alyeska and has been staying with friends. During his downtime he’s been traveling around local communities and taking in the scenery.

“You can’t typically come up here in late January and see views like this and get out and hike,” he said. “I just climbed Flattop. It was really beautiful.”

Businesses in Girdwood said they are seeing tourists like Golemon leave the downtown because of the lack of snow. Despite the hiatus, however, they’re not worried.

“It’s been a little extreme,” said Carol Makar, owner of  The Ice Cream Shop. “We can still get it.  It can still get cold and we can still get several feet of snow.”

Businesses said they’re looking forward to the February forecast to make up for any lost revenue, adding it’s one of the busiest months of the year.

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