Cloud-seeding Silver iodide is positioned on a turbo-prop airplane ready to seed clouds in the sky above Idaho. (Photo provided by Weather Modification International)

Vail Resorts Inc., one of the largest financial contributors to Colorado’s cloud seeding program, has dropped out this year, leaving a major hole in the program’s budget.

Cloud seeding is a practice in which silver iodide pellets are sprayed into storm clouds in an effort to trigger more snowfall and ultimately, in the spring, more snowmelt to feed the state’s streams.

Vail has been participating in the program for more than 40 years, state officials said.

Hard-hit by the pandemic, the ski resort company had planned to contribute $300,000 to this year’s effort, roughly 20% of the nearly $1.5 million the state spends annually, according to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which oversees the program.

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