BY KATHY GIBBONS
TRAVERSE CITY — Falling snowflakes mean the region’s ski resorts are coming to life.
The weather is going to determine just how lively they can be this early in the season, though.
Boyne Highlands Resort near Harbor Springs today announced it was open, with special rates starting Wednesday and open terrain expanding through the week. In Boyne Falls, sister property Boyne Mountain also is expected to open this week.
“We have ... pretty much been making snow around the clock since Friday,” said Director of Communications Erin Ernst. “That has enabled us to get slopes open today at Boyne Highlands and Friday at Boyne Mountain.”
Nearby Nubs Nob planned to open Friday, said President and General Manager Jim Bartlett.
“We’ll be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 4:30,” he said. “Then we’ll close down and hopefully make some snow next week, and then open up for the season on Friday, Dec. 7.”
Shanty Creek Resorts near Bellaire received natural snow over the weekend and has been making snow since Monday. Marketing Manager Lindsey Southwell said it’s too early to tell when they might be ready for skiers and snowboarders.
Officials at Mt. Holiday indicated last week that they expected to open around Dec. 15 or a little later.
Crystal Mountain near Thompsonville doesn’t have a target date to open. Public Relations Manager Tom Kramer said it probably won’t be this weekend.
Resorts can’t make snow when temperatures rise above 28 degrees, Ernst said. Temperatures will be in the upper-20s to near 30 Wednesday, but meteorologist Tim Locker at the National Weather Service in Gaylord said they’ll be just above freezing starting Thursday and Friday.
The weekend should bring temperatures in the 40s and rain, with 50s on Monday and Tuesday. A computer model shows temperatures plunging back into the low-30s Dec. 5 and 6, Locker said.
“This time of year, it’s always a balance,” Kramer said. “We want to open as soon as possible, but if we’re patient and wait just a little bit to get the best conditions, it pays off in the quality of snow now and in the spring.”