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...
A Little Love: Twins Jaquez & Marquez

A Little Love: Twins Jaquez & Marquez

This week’s A Little Love is all about doubling the fun. Our Dia Wallace took 12-year old twins, Jaquez and Marquez, to try their hand at snowboarding at Sno Mountain. Sno Mountain and Bear Creek Ski Shack partnered to provide the twins outfits to snowboard. After the rental department, time for ski school. We hit the slopes with ski instructor, Gary Sexton. First both feet get strapped into the board. Now comes the hard part. “This is half the battle right here – standing up,” says Gary. The next clue is always keep strong balance. Time for the next hill and the ski lift. “A lot of people get frustrated and give up but they did really good. I was surprised they were that determined, they listened well. It was exciting,” says Gary. It was a fun sunny day on the slopes. The 12-year old twins worked up quite an appetite. Sno Grill beckoned with a warm fire and food. Here we talked about their future and their hopes for a forever family. The dare devils end the day with a smile, a new hobby and renewed hope for their...

42-YEAR-OLD NOT SLOWING DOWN ON THE SLOPES BEAR CREEK’S TOM MITCHELL WINS THE 40-44 DIVISION AND IS SECOND OVERALL IN THE SUPER G AT THE KEYSTONE STATE GAMES FESTIVAL

By MARK FITZHENRY markf@leader.net Saturday, February 05, 2000     Page: 1B SCRANTON – As he gets older, 42-year-old Tom Mitchell realizes that competition isn’t that important. Yeah, right. “When you’re there, you’re trying to win,” the veteran skier said. “You should be, anyway.” Mitchell posted the second-fastest time in Friday’s Super G at Montage Mountain, as part of the Keystone State Games Winter Festival. Mitchell, of Bear Creek, specializes in the giant slalom, and finished the Spike course in 38.68 seconds, 0.28 behind the overall leader. In the Super G, Mitchell beat nine racers to win his 40-44 age group, the second-largest age group in the competition. Mitchell, a lifelong area resident, is familiar with Montage. He is a co-owner of the family business, the Bear Creek Ski Shack, which is in its 15th year of operation near the mountain. He has competed in 12 of 13 Keystone winter games, the lone miss because of a back injury a few years ago. He also competes in a weekly corporate racing league. His team lost Thursday by 0.12 seconds – not that he’s keeping track. “He’s competitive, but he’ll keep it fun,” said Mark Symancek, the ski school instructor at Montage. “Tom will help you out. If you need to borrow his wax or sharpening stones, he’ll let you borrow that, even if he’s competing against you.” Greg Congdon, 31, of Forest City, had the fastest overall time in the Super G, finishing in 38.40 seconds. John Kelly, 33, of Old Forge, was third at 38.79 and second to Congdon in the 30-34 age group. Barbara Brumbaugh, a 36-year-old from Towanda, was...

KEYSTONE GAMES WINTER FESTIVAL ACTION READY TO HEAT UP

By GEORGE SMITH; Times Leader Outdoors Editor Monday, February 03, 1997     Page: 1B You can scream down the slopes on skis, bonk off obstacles while riding a snowboard, and pirouette around a rink on figure skates. And if you’re good, you can win gold, silver and bronze medals. You can compete with others of similar abilities in your age group and have wintry fun at Pennsylvania’s Olympic-style amateur multisport program. The 10th annual Keystone State Games Winter Sports Festival will start Thursday and run through Feb. 16. About 700 athletes will participate. The Winter Sports Festival is the winter segment of the Keystone State Games. Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, the Keystone State Winter Games are open to all amateur athletes. Only state residents are able to receive medals. Alpine skiing~ competition will be held Thursday through Sunday at Montage Ski Area in Scranton. U.S. Figure Skating Association and Ice Skating Institute of America events will be held at the Ice-A-Rama at Coal Street Park in Wilkes-Barre Feb. 14-16. At Montage, skiers will compete in a~ downhill, giant slalom~, modified giant slalom, dual slalom, a first timer’s race, a freestyle moguls event and a cross-country ski clinic. Snowboarders will have an event all their own. The festival will kick off with opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Montage. “It will be a traditional opening ceremonies in that the Montage staff will perform a serpentine torchlight parade down the mountain. After that, there will be a fireworks display lighting up the ski area,” said Dave Farrand, the Games’ deputy director. The skiing competition will begin Thursday at Montage, with the most dangerous event in alpine racing — the high-speed downhill. The race...

VOROZILCHAK FEELING GOLDEN BOOSTED BY SKI TUNE-UP, SCRANTON MAN IS FASTEST ALPINE RACER

By GEORGE SMITH; Times Leader Outdoors Editor Sunday, February 12, 1995     Page: 1C MOOSIC — Jim Vorozilchak credits a tune-up at the Bear Creek Ski Shack with his astonishing performance Saturday at Montage. Vorozilchak, 36, from Scranton, won a gold medal in his 35-39 age group and posted the fastest time of the day among 153 competitors during the third day of the Keystone State Games Winter Sports Festival alpine skiing competition at Montage. The Keystone Games Winter Festival gives skiers and figure skaters the opportunity to experience Olympic-style competition. A dual slalom event and a “first-timer’s” race scheduled for today will cap off four days of alpine ski racing at Montage, while U.S. States Figure Skating Association-sanctioned and Ice Skating Institute of America-endorsed ice skating competitions are scheduled Friday through Sunday, Feb. 17-19, at the Ice-A-Rama in Wilkes-Barre. Vorozilchak, the assistant ski school director at Montage, blasted through the gates of the modified giant slalom Saturday on a 3,800-foot intermediate trail called Switch with a combined time of 60.59 after two runs. He was the only skier to break 61 seconds. “It was excellent, the snow conditions were perfect. The race crew did an excellent job of setting up the course,” Vorozilchak said. But he quickly added that it was the tune-up that really counted. “The Bear Creek Ski Shack did a tune-up on my skis, and I think that made a big difference. I felt really comfortable on the skis. The wax and edges were perfect,” Vorozilchak said. “Everybody really liked the course because of the good, hard snow. The skis really carried the speed on the hard-packed surface.” That tune-up must have given Vorozilchak an edge, because...

BURNS GRABS DOWNHILL GOLD WYALUSING RACER CAPTURES FIRST EVENT IN STATE’S ANNUAL WINTER SPORTS FESTIVAL

By GEORGE SMITH; Times Leader Outdoors Editor Friday, February 11, 1994     Page: 1B QUICK WORDS: BURNS GRABS DOWNHILL GOLD SCRANTON — Martin Burns glided to an overall victory by a four-second margin Thursday in the downhill, the first alpine ski race of the Keystone State Games Winter Sports Festival. The seventh-annual Keystone State Games Winter Sports Festival got under way Thursday at Montage Mountain. The alpine ski racing events will continue through Sunday at Montage, and will be followed by three days of figure skating competitions set to run Feb. 18 through 20, at the Ice-A-Rama in Wilkes-Barre. Burns, from Wyalusing, sizzled down the mile-long course in 1:12.54 to beat out 41 other racers for the fastest time and win a gold medal in his 30-34 age category. “It was a good day. I went as fast I as could. There are three guys that I race with, and they really pushed me. I wanted to win,” said Burns, 32. Burns said he prepared for the downhill — alpine ski racing’s most dangerous and glamorous event — by racing. “I go to a ski race just about every weekend,” he said. “I usually compete in the ASRA (American Ski Racing Association) events as well as the New York State Masters. I race in anything, just to keep occupied.” Burns said it was his fifth year of competition at the Winter Games. “I medaled every year I finished, but there was a two-year streak where I did not finish,” he said with a smile. “This year, it was a course for a glider. Absolutely. That’s one of the reason’s I did well.”...