The slopes of Boston Mills Ski Resort are sporting a different hue than skiers are used to seeing these days.
Normally it's a little whiter out here," said Ricky McMullen product manager for Boston Mills, Brandywine and Alpine Valley. All three resorts remain closed on this holiday week which is traditionally one of the busier weeks of the year but not as much in Northeast Ohio as in other places.
"We're not your typical destination resort so people aren't booking week-long vacations to come to us, but even still, with the kids off school they come out during the daytime," McMullen said.
Boston Mills was able to open one slope for one day Dec. 20 before the temperatures took another northward turn.
"We had a good opportunity to test out our snow-making system and we were able to find a couple of things that we could work on and make a little bit better. That way, once it gets cold again, we can get the guns fired up even quicker," McMullen said.
The late start is not unusual in Northeast Ohio. Just last year—despite an extremely cold winter as a whole—December was warm and the slopes weren't able to open until New Year's Day. They would stay open until April.
"The main components required for snow-making are low temperatures and low humidity. So it can range anywhere from 28 to 35 degrees that we can start making snow at," he said.
McMullen feels optimistic looking at the forecast. "Looks pretty good starting New Year's Eve. It looks like we'll be able to fire them up and keep them going for a couple of days, mainly in the evenings, and it could be as soon as next weekend that we're open here."
The key for the three Northeast Ohio resorts is to be open when the kids return to school in January. That's when they do a lot of their business with after-school programs, as well as with the long weekends around the Martin Luther King and Presidents Day holidays.
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