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Not ideal conditions, but Holiday Valley still skiing in the rain

Mike Desmond
Snow and rain mixed on the slopes at Holiday Valley Sunday.

Hard-core skiers were on the rainy slopes at Holiday Valley Sunday, covered by plastic ponchos the resort was giving away. The rest of those planning a ski vacation were in town shopping, eating and drinking.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Sue from Toronto was in the off-the-slopes crowd, dressed for better weather. That's weather when white flakes are coming down, not chilly rain. Toronto resident Craig Duhamel said he started on the slopes, but then the rain finally won out.

"It'd started a little bit, but it got more intense as the day went on," he said. "We stuck it out for as long as we could, but it was fun."

There are a lot of people who have homes in the village and come whenever they can, particularly the long holiday vacation period this year. With the rain, they took advantage of the entertainment segment of the town or shopped. Some were in a book store, which reported a rush of customers for mysteries and fiction.

Ellicottville Brewing Company General Manager Matt Holtz said things are still good.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Ellicott Brewing Co. Was about full Sunday.

"Business is good. It's always good this time of year, especially right after the holiday here," Holtz said. "We have a lot of people that are here on vacation, bringing the families down and they're trying to ski right now. A lot of times what we see happens when it's raining and the snow conditions aren't so great, they end up coming into town and actually enjoying all the restaurants and bars a little bit more."

There was also the attraction of watching the Buffalo Bills on TV, which many were doing.

"Great. We're busier today than we were yesterday," said Karie Erickson, a customer service associate at Daff's restaurant in Ellicottville. "Go figure, with the rain."

Credit Mike Desmond / WNFO News
Rainy slopes are a good time to check out the gear needed for the season.

Over at Mud, Sweat N' Gears, owner Kimberly Reading watched as customers bought and bought, most dressed in the gear that could put them on a ski slope within a few minutes.

"Business has actually been really good this week," Reading said. "We've had a great pre-season start. So no complaints."

Holiday Valley Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh said there is the problem of people saying there can't be any snow on the slopes because there is no snow where they live.
"We've always been faced with that," Eshbaugh said. "Now we have web cams, so that helps a lot. People look at our webcams all the time. We have four or five of them on our website. That does help to prove that we actually do have snow down here. But it's tough when there's no snow in your own backyard."

Eshbaugh said the forecast is for snow Monday night, but skiing is great in the rain, "if you can stay dry."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.