The rise in oil prices, fueled by turmoil in the Arab world, has sparked social media chatter among skiers and riders, but doesn't seem to have dented their enthusiasm for spring skiing and riding.

What happens this summer, however, when Americans hit the road for car-borne vacations, is a question much on the mind of some resort operators.

"People who really get hurt with gas prices rising are airlines and air travelers, and people who drive here with cars," Chip Carey of [R191R, Jackson Hole] told OnTheSnow.

"Eighty-three percent of the people who come here during the winter come by air. We don't have a big drive market. Those numbers may flip in summer," Carey said.

"What we've seen this winter, with the quality of snow and abundance of snow, regional business is going through the roof," he said. "The gas prices are not affecting skiers yet. The expectations for the summer are that I think we're going to see what we've seen the last two winters: gas prices high, and people staying close to home, so again strong regional travel for us."

Carey said conditions were not great during last winter - 2009-10 - and regional travel was off, despite gas prices that were low by 21st century standards. He compared that with this season's better snow and higher gas prices, when people turned out in droves.

"Snow trumps the economy," Carey said.

Several threads on regional chatrooms indicated widespread concern over gas prices, but no cutback in travel to resorts. Instead skiers and riders were carpooling, looking for cheaper sources of gasoline on the way to their chosen destinations, and promotions such as at [R343R, Saddleback Maine], which offered $10 gas coupons to lift ticket buyers.

[R304R, Okemo Mountain Resort]'s Bonnie MacPherson recalls the 1972-73 winter season, which was practically snowless, the economy was in a downturn, and two years earlier, Vermont's pioneering environmental legislation, Act 250, made its debut. Bad went to worse in June 1973, with severe flooding that resulted in heavy damage to Okemo's infrastructure. Then, the gas crisis struck. Supply and availability, not price, was the issue during that period.

Okemo's management bought a 10,000-gallon tank from a Canadian company and had gas pumps installed at the mountain. A deal was struck in New Jersey for seven cents a gallon over cost with payment upon delivery. With that, Okemo guaranteed skiers that if they could get to the mountain, the resort could provide them with enough gas to get them home again.

[R40R, Berkshire East] in Massachusetts wrote in its 1979-80 brochure: "Berkshire East has its own service station to assure you of a supply of gasoline for your trip home."

Many areas joined the move to provide gas to customers in the 1970s, including [R198R, Killington] and [R255R, Mount Snow] in Vermont; [R193R, Jiminy Peak] in Massachusetts; [R436R, Sugarloaf] in Maine; [R489R, Waterville Valley], [R100R, Cannon], and [R287R, Sunapee] in New Hampshire; [R317R, Peekn' Peak] in New York; and [R97R, Camelback] in Pennsylvania.