WOFFORD HEIGHTS, Calif. - The sound of skiers and snowboarders making their way through fresh powder has been replaced by feet shuffling on dirt.
Alta Sierra Ski Resort in Wofford Heights has been hit hard by the unseasonably dry conditions. Last season the resort was open for no more than 10 days, but at this time the mountain was covered in snow. Today, small patches of ice are the only white stuff you see.
"The snow that we had last year was the smallest since 128 years prior, so now the third year in the row which they said definitely would not happen, and here we are," said Alta Sierra Chief Financial Officer John Pavletich.
In the last nine years, Pavletich said all but for the last three seasons the resort opened by December 15. With just a dusting of snow so far this season, the resort has yet to open.
With the parking lot empty, closed signs up and doors locked, the resort looks more like a ghost town except for the few employees left to maintain the mountain.
"We've been working all summer long trying to get it ready, prepare for soon to be snow hopefully," said Alta Sierra employee Danny Elim.
Elim is one of four employees who continue to work, but for the other 40 some employees, there's just no work.
"It's put kind of a hole in everyone's pocket," said Elim.
"We got to keep feeding things to keep it open and keep it active and ready, said Pavletich. “That gets tiresome continuing for the third year in a row to pull money out of our wallets to keep feeding the thing with hopes that the snow will come and the customers will be there."
The U.S. Forest Service owns the land the resort is on and Pavletich said they've been in contact with them to work out other options for the mountain during the warmer months.
"We put in our master plan this year some other activities we'll be able to do to generate some revenue to get some people to the mountain things that might happen in May and some summertime activities," said Pavletich.
To stay updated on the latest conditions at Alta Sierra Ski Resort just go to their website http://www.altasierra.com/