MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Cold days and deep snow will put just about anybody in a bad mood unless you make a living in that type of weather.
And workers at Huff Hills have reason to celebrate because, in their 30th season, they’re ready for what will be their earliest opening day.
Checking on the conditions, Lucas Speidel has a busy few days ahead at Huff Hills.
“This is one of those runs that’s hard to get open usually unless we get real snow because we don’t have a lot of snowmaking back here,” Speidel said. Speidel is the mountain operations manager at Huff Hills.
It’s a good problem to have. Most of the ski staff didn’t believe the forecast until it brought them heavy snow before Thanksgiving.
“Usually, you drive out here and you see grass sticking out, there’s hardly any snow. it just gets you excited,” Speidel said.
With temps remaining below freezing, workers are continuously running the snow-making machines to add to the base layer.
“Right now, our water is coming out the river a little warm, so it’s not freezing as quickly as we’d like it to,” Speidel said.
They also have runs to groom and equipment to check.
“We’ll clean out the old ones and replace them with these ones,” Speidel said while in the ski rental shop.
Sunday is the big day for Huff, not that they mind the attention
“There are people waiting in line for a half hour before we even open the first day usually, trying to get the first run of the year,” Speidel said.
Huff Hills workers say just like Bismarck and Mandan, they got two feet of snow in two days’ time. They say they’ve never seen this much snow this early in the season.
“I’ve been here for 15, 16 years and I’ve never opened this early before,” Speidel said.
This year marks 30 years of welcoming skiers and snowboarders to Huff.
“It’s a lot of years of snowmaking and keeping everything spinning out here,” Speidel said.
And with a frosty start to 2022, this year is shaping up to be one of Huff’s best openers in history.
Workers at Huff spent the off-season widening their bunny hill, they rebuilt the gearbox on their blue chair lift, and replaced their sign.
Huff will open to skiers and snowboarders this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.