A drive to Shaver Lake these days is greeted by bare mountains that typically would be covered by snow at this time of year, and that's put a chill in local businesses.
The dry, warmer than normal temperatures so far means snow is scarce and traffic is down -- reflecting a major drop in sales and profits. On Sunday, the high climbed into the low 50s.
"It's been bad, very bad," said Colten Morgan, a ski technician at Shaver Lake Sports. "No snow, no money."
During the past Christmas break only 15 boards out of about 150 were rented, Morgan said, a big difference compared to previous years.
"There's runs open but not enough to have a lot of rentals," he said.
Alyssa Peterson, who's worked at Coffee and Deli for about six years, said the lack of snow has taken a toll on the shop.
"It's definitely hurting us. If there was snow on the ground, we would be busy every single day," she said. "But right now, it's been slow."
Except for a few scattered patches of snow, residents can hardly tell it's winter.
"It's like summer never ended," resident Elsie Day said.
Larry Sprague, owner of Short Horn Bar and Grill, said his business hasn't been affected significantly because mostly locals visit his establishment. But he has seen the difference when he steps outside.
"I noticed during Christmas vacation everybody brought bikes instead of snow boards because there wasn't any snow," he said.
At Shaver Lake Pizza, owner Darla Romenus said despite sales being down the business is still doing fairly well.
"I'm surprised we're doing as well as we are with no snow," Romenus said. "But we could be doing better."
The lack of snow is evident at China Peak Mountain Resort, with just four lifts open plus the beginning area, owner Tim Cohee said.
"It's nothing like what anybody would expect for this time of year," he said.
Cohee said the combination of lack of natural snow and lack of consistent snow-making temperatures have put them way behind scheduled.
"Had we not been hit with the double whammy we would be in much better shoes right now," he said.
Business owners are constantly checking the weather for some much needed relief.
"Hopefully there will be some snow in February," said Norman Kato, owner of Coffee and Deli and Bob's Market. "It would definitely change everybody's attitude."
But the weather forecast isn't looking good for Shaver Lake.
"In the next 10 days no snow is expected," said meteorologist Jim Dudley with the National Weather Service in Hanford. "We're out of luck."
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