Winter Delays Visit to Rocky Mountain Resorts

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DENVER (AP by Robert Weller)--Business is booming on the course in Vail--the golf course.

Thanksgiving tourists are calling to see if they should bring their golf clubs instead of boots and poles as warm, dry weather has left ski resorts from California to Colorado with scant natural snow.

``This is the first time since 1983 that we've had the golf course open past Oct. 31,'' said Sharon Geankoplis of the Vail Golf Course. ``We are doing 60 rounds a day, about the same as the temperature.''

The National Weather Service predicted unseasonably warm and dry weather this fall as a prelude to above-average precipitation in this La Nina winter. High pressure is keeping the cold above the Canadian border, but that could end by the middle of next week.

The snow report for Alta, the Utah resort whose 500 annual inches of powder is legendary, says it all. ``We received 4 inches the other night. Keep thinking snow. Open when conditions permit.''

Joan Christensen at Winter Park, Colo., wanted to get the word out. ``Go ahead and write the story about the lack of snow. As soon as you write it the snow will start falling. It's right there with the ritual of it rains after you wash your car.''

Snow-making cold air may be coming.

The high-pressure ridge keeping the snow north of the Canadian border is starting to break up, said Chad Gimmestad of the National Weather Service in Denver. Colder temperatures will move south by the middle of next week.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.