Welch keeps winter alive
Spring is quickly approaching, but Welch Village Ski & Snowboard Area is set for a few more weeks of winter.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Prink said the ski site likely will be open until about the third weekend in March, even if temperatures warm up as expected next week.
"We run out of people before we run out of snow," she said, noting Welch Village has huge snowmaking capabilities. "We're situated very well to get through the end of March."
The snow so far this winter has kept Welch Village busier than last year, when the flakes held off.
"Snow's kind of an out of sight, out of mind thing," Prink said. "But any fresh now, whether it's an inch or 6 inches, gets people coming in."
This winter Prink said the snowfall has been about average throughout Minnesota and at Welch Village.
However, the unseasonal rain in late January and early February caused a few bumps.
"We had two relatively big rainfalls which just kind of got people's minds away from snow," she said.
Not only did it keep some people from hitting the slopes, but the rain also created hard, icy snow, so Welch caretakers had to do more digging and grooming, she said. They also made more snow afterward to polish up the slopes.
But Prink said they recover quickly after minor setbacks like the rain and conditions look good for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy the slopes into the official start of spring on March 20.
February generally saw average weather outside of the rain, with typical precipitation and high temperatures between 0 degrees and 32 degrees.
Farmers' Almanac is predicting a stormy but pleasant spring.
February by the numbers
High: 36 degrees on Feb. 12 and 24
Low: minus 9 on Feb. 1
Average daily high: 25.6 degrees
Average daily low: 8.5 degrees
Precipitation: 8.5 inches of snow; 2.4 inches of rain
Source: U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3, Red Wing Waste Water Treatment Plant