Biting cold weather helps some Mid-Michigan ski resorts open early

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HOLLY (WJRT) - (11/10/17) - An early blast of mid-winter cold has settled in across mid-Michigan and the rest of the state.

That has people scrambling for their heavy coats, gloves, hats and sweaters. Others are scrambling for their winter toys to have some winter fun.

Believe it or not, this sudden cold snap is allowing ski resorts to consider something some have never done before -- opening in mid-November.

"I've been here 40 years. In my lifetime, this will be the earliest," said Mount Holly General Manager Mark Tibbetts.

The roar of snow guns have come to life for many ski resorts across the Great Lakes, including Mount Holly, piquing the interest of skiers.

"Just wanted to check on conditions and if they're making snow, see kind of where we're at and if how quickly we might get open," said Davisburg resident Kevin Boyne, who pulled into the Mount Holly parking lot after seeing the snow guns fired up.

Temperatures in the teens Thursday night and highs in the 20s during the day Friday provided for some perfect weather to begin laying down a base of snow and to prepare for what's hoped to be a much longer ski season than last year, Tibbetts said.

"Twenty-eight is usually our start mark. We got going about 6:30 p.m., between 6:30 and 7:00 last night. Optimum is 20, right about where it's at," he said. "This is a great production temperature for us."

It can cost $5,000 to $6,000 dollars for every 12-hour period the man-made snow flies. While there is always a risk and cost associated with an early open, it's one resorts are banking on...

"It's very similar to natural snow, except that it's denser. So, once it's down and packed and groomed, it creates that insulating layer to the ground and it will last quite a while," said Tibbetts.

Plans are to run the snow guns into Saturday morning and then groom the trails so they have about an 18- to 20-inch base. If all goes well, Mount Holly is expecting to open at noon Saturday.

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