Ski hills open early but still planning for the long term

Ski hills open early but still planning for the long term

MINNEAPOLIS - It’s been almost 30 years since some Twin Cities metro ski hills have opened on or before November 10.

Wild Mountain opened earlier. Buck Hill opened on November 10, something not done since 1991 and for Afton Alps not since 1994.

"We've had four bad winters.” Luci Botzek is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Ski Area Association.

She says despite a favorable start to November and perfect snowmaking conditions, many ski areas are looking to out of season recreation to generate more revenue.

"We've got some that do watersports. We have another that has a zipline now in the Brainerd area which has been a real blessing for them and integrated them even more in to the community."

Buck Hill laid down an artificial turf so people could ride during the Summer. Afton Alps has added mountain biking and Mt. Ski Gull the zipline.

"They're all good local business people so in addition to try and lengthen their season they're trying to respond to their communities as well."

With warmer winters, Botzek says it’s a trend ski areas are getting on board with throughout Minnesota. 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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