Coating of snow means skiing's a go for at least two Minnesota ski hills

A ski area employee works amid snowmaking equipment
Snowmaking was underway at Wild Mountain ski area near Taylors Falls, Minn., on Tuesday. The ski area opened for the season on Tuesday, tied for its second-earliest opening.
Courtesy Wild Mountain

At least two Minnesota ski areas are taking advantage of this week's chilly weather to get an early start on winter.

Wild Mountain near Taylors Falls said it would be open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, with one run and some terrain park features ready after two nights of snowmaking.

"We already have some people out skiing right now and I think as soon as school lets out here we'll probably see a big influx of guests at that time," Sara Larsen, president of Wild Mountain, told MPR News early Tuesday afternoon. "But because there's so few places that are open at this time, we get people from all over the state."

It's tied with Oct. 18, 1992, for Wild Mountain's second-earliest opening. The earliest was Oct. 7, back in 2012. The ski area also plans to be open Wednesday.

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"Historically we do try to be open as early as possible," Larsen said. "We have a history of being open first in North America for skiing. It's part of our brand, and we try to deliver that for our guests."

In western Minnesota, Andes Tower Hills ski area west of Alexandria said it would be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, with one run open. It's their earliest-ever opening day.

Temperatures dropped into the teens and 20s early Tuesday across much of the state — even single-digits in a few places, including nine degrees at Bemidji, Benson and Morris. Crookston recorded a low of seven degrees.

Temperatures were hovering in the 30s across most of the state Tuesday afternoon — about 20 degrees below normal — allowing the ski areas’ snow to linger.

But any skiing and snowboarding this week likely will be short-lived, with temperatures across southern and central Minnesota forecast to reach the 60s and 70s this weekend.