MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Hundreds of people hit the slopes this weekend at Huff Hills to celebrate its 30th year in operation. And thanks to this month’s blizzard and cold temps, this was the earliest opening ever.

Many families love to ski here, simply because it’s in their blood… especially Scandinavian Americans here in North Dakota. The word “ski” originates from the Old Norse word “skio [SKEE – OH]”, meaning a split piece of wood. The oldest known ski was discovered in Sweden and dates back to more than 4-thousand B-C… and it was originally used as a form of transportation. Snowboarding developed in the 1960s and ’70s in both Michigan and Vermont. Now, the multi-billion dollar industry is enjoyed everywhere.

With temps in the twenties today, many skiers and snowboarders enjoyed the conditions outside, especially this early in a typical season.

“It was pretty good,” said snowboarder Tait Geiger. “There is a lot of fresh powder up here, and I’m here with some friends so it’s been fun. I think we’re going to stay until closing today.”

Two ski lifts are already open, which will take you to some favorite runs — including advanced and beginner trails (Tait recommends the Buffalo Jump). The Bunny Hill is also open to novices.

Need to learn more before you’re ready to hit the slopes? Don’t worry: Ski and snowboarding lessons are available on-site.

Taylor Aasen will be heading back to Huff Hills on Wednesday to share what old favorites have returned, as well as the new things that Huff Hills has in store.