Over the holidays, it was bitterly cold. Now, it's mild and wet. The wild temperature swings over the last few weeks has meant a significant drop in skier traffic at Quebec's major ski hills during what is usually the busiest period of the ski season.
Carole-Anne Ménard, with Ski Bromont, says 40 per cent of their business is done roughly from the holidays through the month of January — which means the extreme cold and rain that have been keeping skiers from heading for the hills has hurt them.
"For sure we are disappointed, but what can we do?" she says. "We need to live with the weather."
Ménard says so far this season, skier traffic has been down 20 per cent from where it should be — a scenario that's being played out at ski hills throughout southern Quebec, wherever they've had to deal with days of -30 and -40 windchills earlier this month, and the mild, rainy conditions of the past few days.
But even if she suggests this season probably won't end up being a memorable one, she adds it is far from over.
"There are three periods [to a ski season]; the first period is done, now we're in the second one, and the third one comes in March," she says. "We need to focus on the future."