It was a fairly quiet day in Old Forge, but it didn’t take long before the sound of silence was broken, as New Jersey snowmobiler Jim Baum made his way down the street. It’s a sound you wouldn’t have heard a few weeks ago when the snow all disappeared.
"Yea that was horrible. We thought it was over. I wouldn’t even dream that it’s like this today. Couldn’t even imagine."
Slickers Owner Jim Helmes couldn’t imagine being without the snow. He feels fortunate to be clearing off the deck of his business, as the sudden change in weather gave everyone a scare.
"Usually we count on the business lasting through St. Patrick’s Day, and it looked like it was going to be all over there for a little bit."
St. Patrick’s Day seems to be the end of the season for many snow lovers, and according to Rochester snowmobiler Sean Adam, it doesn’t have anything to do with the weather.
"After St. Patrick’s Day life gets real busy for me, so snowmobile season usually ends. It doesn’t have to do with the weather? No not usually to the weather. It’s just I get too busy."
The weather is playing a big part in the business here in Old Forge. Tourism Director Mike Farmer was concerned the season was going to end early.
"All the other areas around us shut down. Then we shut down. We were pretty much out of business, and then-like the winter phoenix rise from the ashes and up we come. One good snow storm and then it just kept piling on several days. Back in business."
Thanks to the recent snowfall, Christy’s Motel is back to taking reservations, and people are coming from out of state to get their end of year rides in. Christy’s Motel Owner Steven Hoepfl talked about what the final snowfalls mean for local businesses.
"It gives you that last shot. I mean without the snow we were a ghost town because in winter time people are here mostly for one reason and one reason only, and it’s to ride their snowmobile. Where in the summer time you have so many other activities that if the weather doesn’t cooperate, people find other things to do, but in the winter they’re here mostly just to ride their snowmobile."
With snow in the forecast for the next couple days, and trail conditions being as good as they are, business is expected to be booming right through to April.
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