Northern Michigan Skiing: Here at MyNorth Media, we are always delighted to hear reports of snow guns working and then see the photos on Facebook as the slopes don their powdery mantles for the ski season. With last week's snow and cold temps this week, it seemed perfectly natural that those stories and images would flood in, except that this weekend's weather report includes 40 and 50 degree temps. So we asked Chris Hale, vice president of sales and marketing at Shanty Creek Resorts, "Why is Shanty Creek making snow now with such warm temps expected this weekend?"
After a few jokes about how changeable Northern Michigan weather can be, he explained, "The base we're building now won't melt over the weekend; the snow insulates itself." He went on to talk about the wet bulb formula, a combination of cold and low humidity conditions that allow ski resorts to make snow. Shanty Creek watches for temps to drop to 27.5 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. But even at that temperature, if the humidity is high, making snow is difficult. Last weekend, Shanty Creek had lots of lake effect snow, but it was too humid for them to make snow round the clock. Boyne Mountain had more lake effect snow than Highlands–just not as much as Shanty Creek Resorts did. The micro climate was a bit colder at Boyne Mountain, so they could make snow. Shanty Creek made snow too, but wasn’t able to put in 24-hr shifts of snowmaking because daytime temps coupled with humidity levels pushed the wet bulb too high.
Shanty Creek is watching the weather closely to see when they will be able to open. They are not expecting to open this weekend, but will continue to make snow as long as the conditions allow them to, building that base and anticipating a great ski season.
Here are expected openings from other Northern Michigan ski resorts:
Caberfae Saturday, December 1 opening
Nub's Nob plans to have 4 runs open this weekend
Boyne Highlands has one lift/run open now
Boyne Mountain is expected to open Friday, November 30
Homestead plans Dec. 17 opening
Mt. Holiday Dec. 17 opening
Hickory Hills Dec. 21 opening