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At Montage Mountain, Repairing and Trying to Reopen

MONTAGE MOUNTAIN  — The storm Saturday damaged Montage Mountain Ski Resort in Scranton. The place is still at least a couple of days away from reopening. ...

MONTAGE MOUNTAIN  -- The storm Saturday damaged Montage Mountain Ski Resort in Scranton. The place is still at least a couple of days away from reopening.

Dozens are working to get the resort back in shape.

The whoosh of skis and snowboards is replaced by the roar of chain saws. And heavy machinery isn't grooming snow. It's getting rid of it. An excavator is building an access road to get more trucks and heavy equipment to Montage's problem area.

This ski resort in Scranton didn't take a direct hit from Saturday afternoon's tornado, but it was close enough. High winds destroyed nearly 100 trees. The trees play a vital role here.

"It helps conserve the snow pack. Besides just aesthetics, it does a lot for us, and preserves the wildlife and everything," said operations director Jack Spitzer.

And when the trees tipped, their root balls flipped. That took out water lines. With no water, there is no snowmaking.

The goal now is to get the broken trees out, fix the water, and turn the power back on.

"They took a few power lines down. There was a little bit of damage to our pipelines. We're working as fast as we can and getting everything back in shape," said Spitzer.

Spitzer took Newswatch 16 on a tour of the storm damage. Some of it is evident as soon as you enter the Montage parking lot.

Trees weren't the only thing that took a hit during the Saturday afternoon storm. 250 feet above the Montage Mountain parking lot there is bent and twisted equipment on top of a cell phone tower.

The best-case scenario is for Montage to reopen Thursday. Friday or Saturday seem more likely according to management and in the spring, they plan to replant the trees the storm destroyed.