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TUESDAY FEBRUARY 20 - GREETINGS FROM BLUE MOUNTAIN
To some people's delight, and to other's disappointment, the end of winter is in sight. If
you're in the latter group, and would like to see the cold and snow hang around as long as
possible, you might come here - to the slopes. And that's where weíll be the next two
Blue Mountain Ski Area, about 60 miles north of Philadelphia.
When it comes to natural snow, ski areas have at least two things going for them:
elevation and sloping terrain. First, it's typically
colder at higher elevations.
The summit here is above 1500 feet, and that extra altitude is often just
enough to tip the scales toward snow.
Second, to make clouds you need to have the air rise. And that's exactly what
happens when the
wind runs into a mountain. In fact, the snowiest places in the
world are found in mountainous areas. In the U.S., for example, Mount Baker Ski
Area in Washington State once got 95 feet of snow - that's more than 1100
inches - in one year. Here at Blue Mountain, the
average is around 50 inches per
winter - that's about double the average in Philadelphia and Wilmington.
Here's one other point about where ski resorts typically are located. Most are on
north-facing slopes. That's because when the sun's up,
it spends most of its time
in the southern half of the sky - in the winter, it spends the entire time there.
This means that north-facing areas simply get less direct sunshine. And that of course
means the snow has a better chance of survival.