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Mild and wet December weather puts a damper on most winter activities

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A mild and wet December means a slower start for winter activities in the region.

Ice skating enthusiasts in Barrie don't have as many choices for outdoor skating rinks so far this winter.

Circle at the Centre ice rink at City Hall in Barrie, Ont., on Fri., Dec. 29, 2023. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

City staff said with these poor weather conditions, they aren't sure what the near future will look like for municipally maintained outdoor ice rinks.

"We try to keep them open as best we can. Today is five degrees and rain, and you can see the surface of the centre here is slightly wet, but the surface is still solid. If it gets any warmer than this or any more precipitation, we may have to close this. This is kind of our breaking point. The natural outdoor rinks in our parks do rely on Mother Nature, so they do rely on much cooler temperatures, so hopefully later in January," said Kevin Datema, with the City of Barrie.

Muddy snowmobile trails in Victoria Harbour, Ont., on Fri., Dec. 29, 2023. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

It's also been a rough start for snowmobiling season, with trails in the area muddy and wet with no snow in sight.

"The weather is just not cooperating. Every morning when you get up and look at the weather forecast, and it's another eight or 10 days without snow in the forecast, it's pretty depressing for our business, that's for sure, but we continue to do more trail prep and expand on what we've done so far and do a little bit more on the trials to make it better for when we do get snow," said Patrick Murray, Georgian Bay Snow Riders president.

Winter enthusiasts turn up at Mount St. Louis Moonstone in Coldwater, Ont., on Fri., Dec. 29, 2023. despite the mild and wet weather. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

And while staff at Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski resort are happy with the turnout despite the weather, the numbers aren't quite what they are used to during the winter break.

"It's been quieter than usual over these days, but at the same time, we still have lots of people showing up, lots of beginners showing up and trying skiing," said Nicolas Huter, Mount St. Louis Moonstone manager.

"We've got 32 slopes open, all except one lift, so I think we're at 10 lifts now. It looks like you're in the mountains up there because you just disappear into the clouds, but it's pretty cool, and it's great to see everyone still coming out despite the weather."

Huter said they plan to make more snow and fully open next week once that's complete.

As for the long-range forecast, next week calls for more unseasonably mild temperatures, but the wet weather is predicted to come to an end.

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