KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Winter break means only one thing for kids between the ages of 5-99: having fun! School and work is out for a few days and there’s nothing more that people want to do than hang out with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors. Whether it’s skiing or tubing or sledding, it’s fun to get out and indulge in the snow. Except for this winter. Why? Because there is no snow.
"Oh it's so disappointing,” said Melody Weaver, manager at Echo Valley, a winter sports park in Kalamazoo. "People are calling. They want to come out, they want to play. And they just don’t understand, that we don’t have snow.”
Weaver said there’s mud on the ten acres of land that Echo Valley sits upon. She said the park was supposed to open in mid-December, but the unseasonably warm temperatures have forced them to keep their doors closed. People have called and asked if they can make snow but Weaver said it has to be at least 19 degrees outside for that to happen.
"I think they can hear it in my voice that we want to be open,” she said. "We want them out there. And they’ve got friends in from Pennsylvania. They’ve got friends in from Florida. Its really very frustrating for us."
Weaver adds that the lack of business this season has hit them financially too. They’ve made all the repairs and are ready to go, but no snow means, ultimately, no money.
"So this is a busy season for us and it gets us a good start to pay property taxes, to pay our bills,” said Weaver about a typical year. "And it just isn’t happening."
Weaver said she’s seeing partners pay for bills out of pocket. However she’s checking the forecast and sees pockets of snow coming soon.
"We need help from Mother Nature,” Weaver said. "We need at least 3 to 4 inches of snow and then we’re ready to go."