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‘Praying for snow’: Ruidoso businesses suffer with ski season yet to arrive

RUIDOSO, New Mexico - For the owners of Ski West, Dec. 27 is normally the busiest day of the year.

“It’s usually so busy you couldn’t have walked in the door," said Orin Nutting, who has owned the Ski West store for 27 years with his wife, Tish. “Almost every year before this though, we’ve had some kind of skiing going on by now."

The owner said his business on Monday was much like a normal business day in October: Customers perused the store and prepared for the season, but weren't actually headed out to the slopes.

“The biggest factor is no moisture," Nutting said. "It’s cold up on that mountain, we just don’t have the storms. Pray for snow."

According to a spokesman for the National Weather Service, the Rio Hondo Basin, which includes the Sacramento Mountains, was at 9% of its normal snowfall as of Monday.

"We can't ski here," admitted J.W. Yeary, who spent the holidays with his family in Ruidoso. His family rented from Ski West on their way up north to Santa Fe.

After an agonizingly long drive from south Texas, Myra Chavez and Yazmeli Zuñiga arrived at Ski Apache on Monday, only to learn it was closed.

"We drove 15 hours so that we could see snow," Chavez said. "Where we’re from, south Texas, we don’t get to see snow, so it’s a rarity.”

Despite the bitter cold and strong winds, there was no natural snow on the ground. According to Ski Apache's voicemail, the lift was closed because of the strong gusts of wind.

Stephen Sonnier drove 12 hours from Lousiana with his family to ski at Ski Apache, only to discover the slopes were closed.

"We saw that there wasn't going to be much snow, but our kids were off school and we decided to come anyway," Sonnier said. "We don’t get snow in Lousiana.”

ABC-7 Meteorologist Katie Frazier contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: Weather News

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is a former ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and weekend evening newscast anchor.


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