Cold Hard Facts: Winter returns to Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Cold Hard Facts: Winter returns to Mid-Michigan

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The Lodge at Boyne Highlands -- photos courtesy of American Eagle The Lodge at Boyne Highlands -- photos courtesy of American Eagle

As temperatures across Mid-Michigan drop back into a winter pattern, Michigan ski areas are open and busy making snow. 

"Each year our ski areas add more and better snowmaking equipment to insure that when temperatures are 28º F or lower, there will be snow on the slopes," said Michigan Snowsports Industries Association executive direcor Mickey MacWilliams.

So, even if the ground is bare, with just a little cold weather, Michigan's ski slopes can be blanketed in white.

The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association provides the following Snowmaking facts:

  • Twenty-eight¢ª F is the "magic number" for snowmaking.  When the temperatures drop below this mark, you can be sure Michigan ski areas are making snow.
  • Ten inches of natural snow, when packed, usually adds only one inch of snow to  the ski slope's base while 10 inches of man-made snow usually adds about seven inches of base.  Man-made snow is more dense and durable.
  • For every 10-degree temperature drop, snowmakers can double the output of machine-made snow.
  • Humidity is a factor as well.  The lower the humidity, the better for making snow.  If you add the temperature plus the humidity, that sum should equal less than 100 for favorable snowmaking weather. 
  • Midland-based Snow Machines Inc. (SMI) is one of the world's largest makers of snow guns and snowmaking master plans for ski areas.
  • Michigan resident Jim Dilworth built and patented the world's first fan snow making gun.

More ski and snow-related facts:

  • Each year Michigan welcomes between 2 million and 2.4 million skier visits to our slopes.
  • Michigan and New York are tied for the most ski areas in any state.
  • The typical ski season is 100 to 104 days long.
  • Winter travel accounts for nearly one third of the $17.7 billion-a-year Michigan travel industry.
  • Skiing is accessible! No matter where you live in the state, you are within a 2-hour drive of a ski area. 
  • According to National Weather Service Data, much of Michigan's lower peninsula has seen more snow this decade than in the past four.

Check out ski conditions near you by clicking here.

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