The nation’s ski industry, hurt by demographics that have aged out many from the sport, this winter has additionally suffered — until this week — balmy, winter weather, courtesy of El Nino.

While some ski and snowboarding resorts are doing fine bolstered by visits from foreign tourists, others are having one of their worst seasons in years. In Gunma Prefecture, patches of grass dot the landscape rather than snow drifts. Lifts at the 80-year-old Oana resort in Minakami, a hot-springs town in the region, have run only two days this season and the number of visitors plunged about 80 percent from a year ago during the New Year’s holidays.

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