Reporting Mike Campbell
WHITE LAKE (WWJ) – It won’t be long until the Southeast Michigan ski hills are filled with the sounds of swooshing because snow or no snow — natural snow, that is — they can open.
Alpine Valley Ski Hill Operations Manager Gail Winterhalter says what they can’t do without is cold weather.
Winterhalter says in her 40 years at Alpine Valley, last year was the worst she can remember in terms of being able to keep the ski hills open. To improve the chances of that this year, she says they’ve beefed up their underground snow-making equipment so they can “fake it” at higher temps — higher being relative, of course. Winterhalter says it still has to be 27 degrees or so to make snow; any warmer and the snow guns just shoot out water.
“I would love to see us just go from start to finish without having to close, you know, if we get rain or whatever; the January thaw as they call it,” Winterhalter said. “But we have been known to open up around Thanksgiving and just cruise right through the season, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
Alpine Valley has no hard open date, but they’re known to be aggressive, often opening before Thanksgiving.