By ERIC JOONDEPH/Montana State News

This winter has been tough financially for many businesses in and around the Gallatin Valley due to the lack of snowfall. The beautiful sunshine, a spectacular sight Bozeman doesn’t normally see in the wintery months, has left many of its residents wondering if the ski season is dripping away.

“It’s on everyone’s mind. It’s just a matter of staying positive, everything tends to work out,” said Andy Haynes, a sales associate at Roundhouse Ski and Sports.

The last storm that swept through the state left some cities with 10 inches of snow or more yet left Bozeman with nothing.

According to the National Weather Service, Helena, Missoula and Billings had roughly 15 inches of snowfall last week, and Bozeman saw nothing more than a light dusting. A map on the National Weather Service’s site shows the northwest part of Montana being hit with snow with no indication of snow for the Bozeman area.

One of the worst parts of this drought is the impact it has had on people who rely on snow removal for a living. Bozeman snow remover Chad Sacry said, “We haven’t really had much business this year. We’ve only plowed about eight to 10 times. We’re expecting probably 30 to 40 plows by now.”

Some residents are worried about other possible impacts: the less snow we get means the less water we will have during the dry summer months. Montana, in the last couple of years has fallen victim to a series of severe forest fires, and this lack of snow isn’t going to help firefighters in 2015. According to Montana.gov, in the last 10 years there have been roughly 16,000 fires burning through an estimated 3.2 million acres.

On the bright side, the forecast is showing some mixed rain and snow in the coming days for the Bozeman area, according to the Weather Channel.

Everyone needs to be patient while we all hope that there will be some amount of accumulation this week. “La Nina is still holding out. She is miserable and she is going to dump on us as soon as she can,” said Haynes confidently.

– Edited by Andy Lindberg

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