Cold snaps mean hot business for some

Cold snaps mean hot business for some

Consumers may gripe about the cold snap gripping the region, but companies that prosper in frigid weather are making up for lost business during last year’s mild winter. Last January, the ski base at Elk Mountain near Union Dale averaged about 24 inches, general manager Greg Confer said. Now, it’s up to 48 inches in places, he said, and skier visits have soared. “I’ll bet we are up 20 or 25 percent over last year,” Mr. Confer said. “We have a ton of snow. The conditions are unbelievable.” The impact from current arctic conditions creates more traffic for ski complexes and ski rental and sales shops, and demand rises for heating oil, plumbing services and products that push snow and melt ice. Many businesses selling snow- and ice-removal compounds had inventory left over from the historically mild winter of 2011-12, said John Wesolowski, vice president at Milazzo Industries in Jenkins Twp., which manufactures Qik Joe ice melt. A month into this winter, he said, that backlog has disappeared. “We are seeing some good, brisk sales,” Mr. Wesolowski said. “It’s up considerably from the year prior because of the absent winter last year.” Many municipalities and consumers were not ready for winter conditions before a Jan. 16 storm dropped about 4 inches of snow in the region, said Jim Flynn, president F&S Supply Co., a Dickson City vendor of snowplow equipment and mechanical instruments. “Everybody waited and waited. Nobody was prepared,” Mr. Flynn said. “We got busy then.” At Bear Creek Ski Shack on Montage Mountain Road in Moosic, general manager Lee Ann Mitchell has been busy satisfying rising demand...