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Frigid weather could shrink ski resort crowds during busy holiday weekend

This weekend is traditionally a big one for ski resorts in our region, but the deep freeze, coupled with high winds, could keep some off the slopes.

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, Pa. — On a brisk Friday evening, snowboarders and skiers dotted the hillside, descending the slopes at Elk Mountain near Union Dale in Susquehanna County. Some came from out of state, planning to take full advantage of the three day weekend.

"We wait for this weekend every year," said Joseph Salerno from Montgomery County, Maryland. "We come together. We've all been in college together for year, so it's a great time. We love to get together."

Others just stopped by to ski for a few hours.

"We would normally go to Blue Mountain, but we decided to take the little extra ride and do the four hour ticket," said Rhonda Molesphini of Montgomery, New Jersey.

But everyone is feeling the cold. 

Friday was a big day on Elk Mountain, with skiers and snowboarders out on the slopes all day long. But as the temperatures start to dip, you can expect to see more of them heading inside to get warm.

With expected temperatures in the low single digits and winds at 15 miles per hour, General Manager Greg Confer said attendance will be impacted.

"We expect a good crowd. No doubt it will be cut back by the weather because it is so cold," Confer said. "But cold is the reason we're here."

He said the evergreen trees can help knock down some of the winds, but expects visitors to take plenty of breaks.

"People will cut back and they should," Confer said. "If they're cold then they should stay in."

"Once it gets into negative numbers, we're not out there that long. It's one run, then a hot chocolate, one run, then a hot chocolate," added Tony Molesphini. "Single digits on a sunny day can be an okay experience."

Some said the key is bundling up.

"I would definitely say extra base layers," Salerno said. "Being able to take stuff off if you can, but it's going to be so cold that you can't. The handwarmers and that type of stuff goes a long way, for sure."

But the frigid weather won't keep Salerno off the mountain.

"We'll be good to go," he said. "It's going to be a good time. The cold won't scare us away."

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