2015-12-30 / Front Page

Local businesses welcome snow

By LIZ GOTTHELF
Staff Writer

A friendly game of ice hockey takes place at the West Brook Skating Rink in Biddeford in 2013.DINA MENDROS/JournalTribune A friendly game of ice hockey takes place at the West Brook Skating Rink in Biddeford in 2013.DINA MENDROS/JournalTribune Weather can be unpredictable, but those whose businesses depend on snow or cold weather are hoping Tuesday’s storm is leading the way to a cold, snowy winter.

“We’re only as good as the snow,” said Dixie Harris of Harris Farms in Dayton, which has cross-country ski trails through fields and forest on its 500- acre property.

Harris said Tuesday that the trails hadn’t been open yet this winter. But after the snowfall, the trails opened today.

“I am hopeful this is the start of a good season,” she said Tuesday.

Harris said there have been years when the trails have been open as early as hunting season in November, and years when the trails have been open until Maple Sunday in April. She said late-season snow isn’t usually the best to ski on, but some people like to ski in April for “bragging rights.”

Matt Barnett, general manager of Play It Again Sports in Biddeford, said Tuesday that sales of ice skates have been good, though sales of snow-related items such as downhill and cross-country skis have been “a little bit below” numbers for previous years.

“It’s still early,” said Barnett, who was optimistic that sales of equipment for snow sports would increase and do well the rest of the winter. “It takes a little bit of snow on the ground, and people will come in looking for that stuff.”

Dave Gagnon, president of West Brook Skating Rink in Biddeford, said the community ice rink on Pool Street in Biddeford hadn’t opened for the season yet, but added that it wasn’t unusual. He said in his 15 years or so with the skating rink, he’s only seen the rink open by Christmas three or four times. The rink usually doesn’t open until around New Year’s Day.

It would have been nice to have been open this week for school vacation week, he said, but “you’re dealing with Mother Nature.”

Gagnon said the season typically ends in late February or early March, though he recalls one year when it was too warm to open on February break. He hopes it will be cold enough to open the rink next week.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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