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Last updated: March 16. 2013 6:58PM - 438 Views
ANDREW M. SEDER ??????



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After a shaky start thanks to a warmer than usual December, some local ski resorts are reporting ??top 5? all time President??s Day weekends and are on pace for a much better season than last year??s dud.


More than 30,000 visited Blue Mountain near Palmerton over the four-day holiday weekend, according to resort spokeswoman Heidi Lutz. She said the strong weekend, and strong month of February overall, has helped to offset what was a horrendous December. But the poor snowmaking conditions to start the winter have forced resorts to play catch up this year.


??For making snow it??s been great but the problem is we had a later start than we would have liked,? Lutz said. ??If you lose December, it??s very hard to make that up.?


Gregg Confer, general manager at Elk Mountain, near Union Dale, declined to release numbers but said President??s Day weekend will likely be one of the five best in the resort??s five decade history.


He said the weather has been very cooperative since the calendar changed from 2012 to 2013. Frigid temperatures have allowed snow making machines to operate round-the-clock and natural snow has also left some powder but more importantly got people from big draw areas like Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York thinking skiing.


Like other resorts, Confer said December wasn??t kind at Elk Mountain but since then the weather has cooperated and ??we??re making snow whenever we can and we kept plugging away.?


It??s been paying off as visitors to the slopes are finding nearly all runs open and plenty of snow covering them.


But the late start to the season likely means no area resort will set an all-time attendance record or even place it in the top five. Two seasons ago was one of the best, or the best, for many local mountains and it will be hard to surpass the totals established that year but many are already on target to surpass last year??s numbers, some may do so with a month still remaining in the season.


The tremendous season couldn??t have come at a better time for the financially-strapped Snö Mountain in Scranton, which is being eyed by more than a dozen potential buyers. Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Jean FitzSimon set a bid deadline of Feb. 25 for interested parties looking to acquire the 440-acre property and its assets, which includes Snö Cove Water Park.


Some of the bidders will be invited to a private auction of the complex that will take place three days later. At that event, the highest bid from the sealed bids will be revealed and other bidders will have a chance to increase their bids in an auction-style sale. Then the new high bid will go back before FitzSimon for approval or denial on March 6, according to Gary F. Seitz, a Philadelphia attorney whom the court appointed as trustee to oversee the ski mountain and water park.


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