Winter’s snowfall was below normal, but you’d never know it on Tug Hill

Winter’s snowfall was below normal, but you’d never know it on Tug Hill
Snowmobiling on the Tug Hill. (Source: wwny)

BARNES CORNERS, N.Y. (WWNY) - According to the Northeast Climate Control Center at Cornell University, winter brought 79.5 inches of snow to Watertown. During a normal season, the area sees 108 inches.

That means Watertown’s snowfall was 28 inches, more than 2 feet, below what the region usually sees in a winter season.

In Lowville, the total is off by 27 inches. During a normal winter, the community sees 113.6 inches of accumulation.

This past season, the total was 86.1 inches of snow.

Top off those snow totals with a global pandemic, you may think it’s a recipe for a slow season. But when you’re on the Tug Hill, there’s no slowing down.

The sound of a snowmobile is music to Tricia Garvin’s ears.

“There were a lot of people up here. New faces we haven’t seen, a lot of faces we see all the time. People from all over,” said Garvin, owner, Tuggers Grill Bar and Campground.

Although snow totals were more than two feet below average, New York state saw 10,000 more snowmobile registrations compared to the previous season.

But on those days when the show did fly, people were ready to rev and ride on the Tug Hill.

“When it stayed, it made for a good season Because people were able to ride every day. For a while, we were the only ones that had snow. So it was pretty busy around the hill,” said Garvin.

It’s the same sentiment shared by folks at the Montague Inn.

“Once everybody found out we had snow on the hill, they were in,” said Debby Vaugh, waitress, Montague Inn.

She also saw a lot of new faces. But on the other side of the coin was COVID-19.

It reduced restaurants’ capacity to 50 percent, meaning as the trails outside were packed, things couldn’t be as packed inside Tuggers and Montague Inn.

“Unfortunately a week after snowmobile season was over, it went up to 75, but you gotta do what you can do and work with what you can work with at the time,” said Vaughn.

Now the Tug Hill switches from snow season to mud season as people put away the snow sleds and hop on the 4 wheelers.

“Last year there was a huge uptick in the ATV traffic, and we anticipate that again this year,” said Garvin.

So, while snow totals were significantly down for the season, you really wouldn’t have known it on the Tug Hill.

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