Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Admittingly, the exciting part about the race to open is that you never know what will happen. Weather is almost unpredictable over a couple of days and with snowmaking teams working with near marginal temperatures every minor change matters. So even a few-degree swing or slightly higher humidity could mean the difference between a productive snowmaking night versus not being able to make snow at all.
Last week we felt confident in the forecast, even going as far as stating there would be a good chance we would be on snow this week, but as we edged closer - the forecast has changed quite a bit. Last week, overnight temps looked ideal with three or four nights with ten plus hours under 28 degrees. Although the updated forecast still calls for lows below 28 degrees, the length is typically only for a couple of hours. This makes snowmaking very unproductive, given the amount of work just to get the guns running.
Despite the updates to the forecast, we will still see a couple of decent windows to make snow this week. Although they are much shorter than what we saw in the forecast last week, we will likely see some snowmaking throughout the week in the upper regions of the Midwest. Although some of this snowmaking will likely be used just as a system test.
The shorter duration of the lows is going to be a deal-breaker for a lot of resorts. These short windows for snowmaking don't make a lot of sense for resorts as the production of the snow made in these periods is not worth the time or money. There are resorts with a more aggressive attitude toward snowmaking that will go for it no matter what, but I feel many resorts will test their system this week and hope for better weather soon.
The worst part about this updated forecast is the extended weather pattern. After this cold front moves through, we are faced with temps in the 50s throughout the weekend. Even considering the lows, most of the Midwest will not break freezing for the foreseeable future. This is a much different outlook than we had last week and is not promising as management looks to decide whether or not to make snow during this cold front.
Is it possible we see skiing/riding this week? That's hard but, not likely, but possible. It certainly is looking a lot less likely compared to last week, but don't write it off just yet. We think a hike park or single rope tow park is still on the table but a spinning lift is going to be a really tough task. We think many ski resorts will lean toward not making snow this week but may test out their systems to get those social media hype photos posted. Although most will hold back, we still think that Wild Mountain, Ski Brule, Hyland Hills, & Tyrol Basin are a few resorts to keep an eye on over the next week.
Although we will likely be wrong about our post last week, we think it's part of what makes this time of the year so fun. The weather watching, the speculation, the webcam watching... whatever it is, it keeps us stoked for the season!
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