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Lack of snow leads to tough year for winter sports in New Brunswick

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As much of New Brunswick prepares for heavy rain later in the week, winter sport fans are hoping to be able to enjoy their favourite seasonal past times for a little while longer.

A lack of snow throughout the province has posed challenges for those operating in the winter sport tourism sector, most notably for skiers and snowmobile riders.

Poley Mountain, one of New Brunswick’s ski hills, has been consistently open since December thanks to their ability to make snow on over half their runs. The runs without snow making abilities remain closed until Mother Nature decides to help out.

“The feedback we are getting is that they are very impressed for what we have been able to do with the snow,” says Poley Mountain general manager Jaime Hare.

Hare says snow-making teams have worked over 100 extra hours this season to make up for the lack of natural snow. He credits his entire staff for making the season as successful as it has been.

Hare admits he and his team have worked a lot of late nights this winter.

“We are a 24-hour-a-day operation. We have people out every night, all night long, trying to make sure we have the best conditions possible for our guests.”

Hare says they are prepared for the rain that is slated to fall later this week, and doesn’t expect the weather to impact March Break, when the hill has a number of camps and activities planned.

The incoming rain is also a worry for riders.

“I’d hate to think that the season might be done by the end of February,” admits Brad Mann, the president of Snowmobile New Brunswick.

He says the southern part of the province has had an especially tough season with a lack of snow on the trails, but says things in the northern part of the province have gone fairly well.

Mann notes a number of Ontario tour groups have already come through the northern routes from Edmundston to Miramichi, but admits to not seeing as many Maritimers as he has in years past.

“The diehards still come,” says Mann.

“Might be the guy that comes only once a year, maybe he is going to stay back home and run there, but it is hard to tell. We will know by the end of March.”

He says those that have made their way through the trails have been impressed with their condition, considering the levels of snow around the province.

“That’s thanks to the volunteers that are out there grooming and keeping the trails up,” says Mann.

“People are really impressed with the conditions of the trails for the amount of snow we have.”

While the snow has been lacking, anglers in Rothesay, N.B., say it has been one of the better seasons in recent memories for ice fishing. Fishers have been on the ice consistently since early January. However, with warmer weather on the horizon, they know in about two week’s time the huts will start to come off.

The ice-fishing season in New Brunswick officially closes on March 31.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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