OTSEGO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Those who want to hit the slopes don’t have to wait much longer.
Bittersweet Ski & Snowboard Resort near Otsego has set Monday as its tentative opening day, which is beyond exciting for office manager Jill Herrick and her fellow staff.
“We’re super happy to get open as soon as we can,” Herrick said.
Herrick is hoping the early start will continue longer than it did the last time it opened early in 2020.
“We had a few good days, possibly a week. Then we closed for three weeks and then we were back open right around Christmas,” Herrick said.
It’s good business for ski resorts to advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend, if weather allows. In 2017, Bittersweet opened for just three days in November, bringing in only 351 visitors. The next two Novembers showed a very different picture: 3,730 visitors over 14 days in 2018 and 1,940 visitors over 11 days in 2019.
“If we can get a good base on the hill and get a good grooming session in, I think that even if we just have a couple of runs open, we’d be in good shape,” Herrick added.
Herrick attributes flexibility and control over a November opening partially to the use of man-made snow in addition to the natural stuff. However, she said, both air and ground conditions have to be favorable to fire up the snow guns.
“I think all the cloud cover that we’ve had has kind of kept the moisture and warmth in the atmosphere, so we didn’t quite get to the temperatures that we needed to,” Herrick explained. “We need it in the mid-20s — 27, 28 (degrees) would probably be the highest that we could do, but it has to be consistent throughout the entire night.”
Bittersweet’s doors will open to visitors at noon Monday.
News 8 also checked in with Cannonsburg Ski Area near Rockford, which said it hopes to turn on its snow machines Friday night. It has not set an opening date.