CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Big news for West Michigan skiers: Cannonsburg Ski Area will open for the first time this winter on Wednesday.
The Kent County hill has been making snow since it got cold last week and management was hoping to open for the weekend, but the weather didn’t cooperate.
Luckily, Monday night was different.
“When I was outside as a kid, I’d always be outside playing in the snow until I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes anymore,” Aaron Teesdale said. “Now it’s the same thing — just bigger toys for bigger boys.”
Those toys are the snow guns that Teesdale runs for Cannonsburg. He was operating them Monday night — the best night of the season so far for making snow. Storm Team 8 said temperatures in the Grand Rapids area could drop to around 5 degrees.
“The colder we get, the better production we can have,” Teesdale explained. “Ideal temps are 10 degrees to 6 degrees. Anything below -6 degrees, that’s when we have a little bit of problems with ice buildup.”
The snow guns spit out the snow and then crews moving around with grooming machines to get the slopes ready to go. Teesdale likes to have at least an 18-inch base before that happens. That’s been a tough goal to meet this season.
The snow guns were expected to pump out up to two feet of snow by Tuesday morning.
“It’s amazing to find some tranquility out here in these cold, windy temps, watching the piles just accumulate and accumulate, then have your customers come in and say, ‘Can’t believe this is man-made snow. It feels like we’re out in Colorado riding on the pow,'” Teesdale said.
Cannonsburg will be open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Cannonsburg Ski and Ride Director John Losey said it will be a limited opening on Wednesday which means about a third of the facility will be open. They are hoping to have their big opening event this weekend, but it is weather dependent.
Losey expects the opening day for Cannonsburg’s new tubing hill on Jan. 16 if the weather cooperates.
Teesdale said he likes to have about a three-foot base to open Cannonsburg’s terrain parks. He’s hopeful that will be possible on Wednesday, but that has yet to be determined.
With another warmup in the forecast, Teesdale said it’s even more important that Cannonsburg make as much snow as possible Monday night so the base will last.
Bittersweet Ski Resort in Otsego was able to open on New Year’s Day for the third time this season, but that location has also been stymied by warmer-than-normal temperatures this winter.