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Every room is reserved. The date on the calendar clearly says winter has arrived. Every detail under the manager's control has been checked and rechecked. Is there anything more nerve-wracking than waiting for the snow to fall? For experienced cross country ski center operators, a juggling act balances all business disciplines to stay profitable: human resources, marketing, grounds keeping and finances. But even the most experienced operator can't control one variable-Mother Nature.
After years of revenue lost from late snows and warm winters, some resort owners are latching on to snowmaking equipment usually found on alpine ski slopes. Jason Sawin, owner of C.H.S. Snowmakers in Littleton, Colorado, sees growth in artificial snowmaking, especially from Nordic ski centers. For years, alpine centers have relied on snowmaking equipment to create a base for early season snowfalls and when necessary to provide deeper snow to keep the ski runs open. Now, cross country areas are taking note.
"There are very few cross country centers that have snowmaking. They have to rely completely on natural snow. Some years when it doesn't come, they don't open," Sawin laments the song of many …