Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Spirit Mountain saw a lot of action this weekend with the 20th annual Duluth National Snow cross.
But something was missing.
Skiers and snowboarders.
The Skihill always tries to open by Thanksgiving, but it came and went with no luck for those looking for that first run of the year.
Historically the ski resorts in the Northland have had a least a few runs open at this time, but here at Spirit Mountain, Mother Nature hasn't been cooperating.
"It's all weather dependent and it's been a lot warmer as of late"
Spirit Mountain has seen better days.
"It's not our preferred scenario obviously we've got a lot of users of the facility that want to that want to ski and board"
A warming trend over the past couple weeks has slowed down the snow-making process.
"We have had warmer than normal temperatures and it's been drier than normal. We haven't seen a la nina type pattern yet"
Ski hills further North, like Giants Ridge and Lusten, have had better luck.
Both opened, on Thanksgiving and are reporting good conditions.
It's just been unseasonably warm in Duluth.
"The normal high temperature for today is 29 degrees and the normal low is 15. Yesterday we had temperatures basically in the 30's and warm temperatures in the 40's today so not good for snow"
"Now for snow-making crews to even think about making snow, temperatures need to be at 26 degrees at the warmest and the air needs to be relatively dry or these snow-making guns won't make snow, they'll just make water"
But it's not out of the ordinary for Spirit Mountain to have a late start.
"If we can get open by Thanksgiving we are very very happy"
Historically, it's hit and miss.
All three of the major resorts in the Northland, Lusten, Giants Ridge, and Spirit aim for Thanksgiving.
But it's a business where weather shapes the start.
"We will be open we weren't open thanksgiving, it broke our hearts it was very disappointing"
But sooner than later, the lifts will open.
Officials here at Spirit Mountain want to assure everybody that a few runs will be open by this weekend, possibly later in the week.
Temperatures will be dropping into the teens by then so they can make some more snow.
As time goes on spirit, giants ridge and lusten will slowly open more runs and all three predict they won't have their resorts 100 percent open till Christmas and plan to make snow through January.
Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka