Resorts prepare for early ski season

Snow guns at Crystal Mountain are working extra hours preparing the slopes for opening day Thanksgiving.

The snowfall in northern Michigan has many people thinking about breaking out their skis and snowboards. Staff members at ski resorts are putting in extra hours, preparing for an early start to the ski season.

A couple of ski resorts opened runs the past few weekends, but many are on track for a Thanksgiving Day grand opening.

That's something Crystal Mountain Ski Resort has not been able to say in years.

â??It's been eight years since we've been skiing on Thanksgiving day, but it's going to happen this year,â?? said Tom Kramer, public relations manager at Crystal Mountain.

The folks at Crystal Mountain said reservations are pouring in.

â??All it takes is for people to see some snow on the ground and they get their skis out and get excited,â?? said Kramer. â??People make reservations a year out, six months out, generally from Christmas to late December and on, but once news spread that we're getting snow up here already, people have been calling nonstop for the past few days.â??

Last year, ski resorts struggled with a lack of snow early in the season.

â??We have sometimes very little control over when we can open. We just have to wait for Mother Nature to remember what season it is. To have a big boost this early in the season is just fantastic,â?? said Kramer.

The guns have been cranking out snow practically nonstop for about a week now.

â??If we could rely on Mother Nature to supply all of the snow, that'd be great, but we can't anymore,â?? said Kramer.

This year, the snow making team is pushing the limits with a new winch cat, which is able to push a tremendous amount of snow uphill, where a normal groomer wouldn't be able to get enough traction.

With all of the natural and artificial snow, the slopes will be ready for family fun this holiday weekend.

â??We see three generations out skiing together. To have that happen on Thanksgiving, which is a great holiday for families to begin with, is just great,â?? said Kramer.

Boyne Highlands will also open Thanksgiving Day.

A Caberfae representative said its slopes will be closed for the holiday, but will open Friday morning.

For a more complete list of which resorts are opening and when, click here.