Mt. Brighton took advantage of the cold weather last week and got busy making snow in order to open early this season on Nov. 28.
Although, it's not the earliest opening the ski resort has ever had, it was earlier than last year's opening of Dec. 3, according to Mt. Brighton President Joe Bruhn.
"Anytime you open in November, it's good, but we would have rather of opened a couple days before Thanksgiving because that weekend is a big weekend for this type of business - everybody is home without anything to do on Friday if they don't shop," Bruhn said. "Some years you don't get open in November, other years you get open and you struggle, then make it (snow) again. It's a constant struggle this early. A December opening is late, even for us. I can remember opening as late as Dec. 10, but we've opened as early as Nov. 4."
Bruhn said it was still too early to tell how this season was going to go - and that even halfway through December, it's still hard to tell sometimes.
Last year's mild winter really hurt Mr. Brighton, Bruhn said.
"That's the worst winter that I remember and I've been here 30 years," he said. "We took a big hit. People didn't get in the mood for skiing - we didn't have a lot of natural snow. We didn't even have a lot of cold weather. Even though, we had a lot of good conditions, because a lot of nights we could make snow and dress the area up, in the daytime it got a little bit warm. But snow quality was very good. The mood just wasn't there. What a difference when you get a 3-inch natural snowfall. It's the enthusiasm. People think if they don't see it in their backyards, they think we're not skiing."
With advances in snow-making today, Bruhn said the resort is able to make a hardier snow that lasts longer than its natural counterpart.
Mt. Brighton needs about two good nights in order to cover its slopes with snow, Bruhn said. Mt. Brighton adds an additive called snomax to its machines. Snomax is a protein that dries out water molecules and expands them, making snow dry faster which creates a better quality snow.
Bruhn said in order to make snow, the weather needs to be down to at least 28 degrees, however they have made snow at higher temperatures of 30 and 31 degrees.
"We prefer it colder," he said.
After Mt. Brighton reopens, Bruhn said the popular terrain park will have new rails and boxes.
"When get done, we have between 15 to 18 features - all a combination of rails and boxes and we have a van with a special top that skiiers and snowboarders can go across," he said.
Mt. Brighton also offers various personal, group and children's ski and snowboarding lessons.
"It's a big part of our business," Bruhn said about lessons. "One thing we do here is we teach people how to ski and snowboard. In these areas in Southeast Michigan, that's part of our thing is teaching people how to ski so they can go up North or go out west and enjoy themselves."
Mt. Brighton closed over the weekend due to the spike in temperatures, but check www.mtbrighton.com for updates on when the resort will open again.
Mt. Brighton also offers text message alerts to update avid skiers and snowboarders on slope statuses and more.