Weather whiplash in the Twin Cities has some skiers taking to the slopes this weekend while others are thinking about teeing up for golf next week.
A few days of unseasonably cold weather put snow-making machines in overdrive this week, allowing some ski hills to open. Buck Hill and Afton Alps opened some of their ski runs Friday afternoon, and Hyland Hills Ski Area expected to open Saturday.
“It’s a little early for all of us,” said Joe Yasis, general manager at Afton Alps. The ski hills generally have opened by Thanksgiving the past few years, he said.
Afton Alps was open from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Although temperatures are expected to rise to the 40s and possibly hit 50 degrees next week, Yasis said he expects the two runs open at the ski hill will be open 3 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Some passersby look at the snow-covered runs and cringe because they’re still riding their bikes, Yasis said. But those itching to put on their skis are excited for the early opening.
At Buck Hill, the phones are “ringing off the hook” with eager skiers wanting information, said Noelle Dougan, the ticket office manager. “Every ski resort would love to open by Thanksgiving. Anything earlier than that is a bonus.”
Buck Hill will continue to be open through next week, depending on how the man-made snow fares during the higher temperatures expected next week.
Hyland Hills will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Plans to open beyond that will depend on the weather.
“Think cold thoughts,” says the ski area’s automated phone message.
Those wanting a few more rounds of golf are thinking otherwise.
Tim Matsche, general manager at Loggers Trail Golf Course in Stillwater, said upcoming days with 40-degree temperatures means his course will be open. Although the course closed during the recent chill, it planned to reopen Saturday through most of next week.
“If it doesn’t snow, we get a few days here and there when we can open this time of year,” Matsche said.
But eventually, the winter will belong to the skiers.