Rocky Mountains ski resort operators were starting to breathe alittle easier Tuesday. After many had missed traditional openingdates of Thanksgiving Day weekend or earlier, they welcomed asnowstorm that either was arriving or on its way. For much the samereason, Rockies/Pacific Northwest and Southwest points constitutedthe only region seeing meaningful price gains on either side of anickel Tuesday. The rest of the cash market was a sea of flatnessthat, unlike Monday, leaned slightly to the downside instead of theupside.

Wellhead freeze-ups in the San Juan Basin weren’t necessarilyincreasing that much Tuesday but their impact was being felt more,a source told Daily GPI. Pipelines were able to keep feeding offlinepack for a while after the first production shortfalls startedshowing up Monday. But they were starting to cut nominationsTuesday because of non-performing frozen wells. Another fundamentalthat helped firm western numbers, he added, was maintenance Tuesdayand today at Muddy Creek causing a supply constraint at Opal. Inaddition, California weather is fairly chilly, he said.

Intra-Alberta shared in the West’s overall rise with an increaseof about a nickel into the low C$2.60s. However, an overnightsnowfall had turned into slush by Tuesday afternoon andtemperatures were still unusually mild, said a Calgary trader, sohe continues to consider it “a fairly weak market.”

Disregarding the western firmness, price pessimism was growingamong eastern traders. “We’re starting to run out of time alreadythis winter,” said a midwestern marketer. “It’s too warm andprospects of snow don’t look good [in his region]. In late Novembernobody thought we’d see a meltdown like early in December 1998; nowit seems some people are having that thought.”

One trader said he baseloaded a Chicago citygate package at$2.18 Monday “because the price had finally dropped below index.”

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