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Snow machines help drought-stricken ski resorts

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Updated: 1/18 2:45 pm

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — Major ski resorts in Lake Tahoe are using high-tech snow-making machines to weather a record drought that has left many mountainsides dry and bare.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that corporations running Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain have made major investments in snow-making tools.

The machines are expensive to run and require a lot of water and power. But they provide reliable snow at ski resorts where guests make reservations long in advance of weather reports.

The machines can't replicate natural snowflakes, but skiers and ski resort operators say the quality of machine-made snow is improving.

But small, family-owned ski resorts that don't have snow-making equipment are suffering. Many haven't opened this season, costing jobs and hurting local businesses.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com

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