Archives for posts with tag: Tyrol Basin

With one hard-snow-packed run totaling less than 300 vertical feet, it’s comical that the crowds gliding down the fake snow have been anticipating this unbecoming day for months.

Unlike the mountains of the west, the ski hills in the Midwest do not turn opening weekend into a front page affair.  Most Midwestern hills make their season debut mid-November with one, hike-only run, covered in icy, man-made snow, and littered with miscellaneous park features, and generally only the loyal park rats make it out for the first few open days.  They come in groups, mostly fitted in trendy tight snow pants, coordinating jackets and oversized goggles or sunglasses.  They lug their skis and poles up the couple dozen vertical feet only to take a quick ride down, hit a few features, and avoid the other rats doing the same thing.

Due to lack of elevation and wintery precipitation, the Midwest early season is not determined by total snowfall, but instead by freezing temperatures.  To manufacture snow, resorts need water and cold weather; snow guns are instantly fired up when these two factors are present.  The guns propel fake flakes onto the brown grassy hills. “Our business is very tied to the weather, we’ve had a few cold stretches during November and we’ve taken advantage of them,” said Don McKay, general manager of south-central Wisconsin’s Tyrol Basin Ski and Snowboard Area.

Colin Droster of Madison, Wis. has been anticipating opening days for about eight years and doesn’t mind the faux snow, “it’s better than nothing, plus who can tell the difference after a (snow cat) has groomed it.”

Tyrol tends to be the first Midwest hill to fill a run with snow and park features.  Although McKay says their target-opening day is always the day after Thanksgiving, Tyrol often opens a hike-only run in late October.  This year they opened for the season Nov. 2, “which is pretty early,” said McKay.  From the first Tuesday in November on, Tyrol has sporadically opened their single run and added a run serviced by chairlift, allowing them to open for the season the Friday after Thanksgiving, “prior to the lift being open it was super crowded,” said Droster.  In regard to Tyrol’s ability to fill a few runs with snow and remain open this year, “I’d say things are a little bit better than on track,” said McKay.

This early season, Tyrol was able to build a jump with an eight-foot gap in addition to setting up the usual rails and boxes, “it was radical, first time that I can recall they had a half decent jump set up this early,” said Droster.

Riders flock to make the first tracks of the season at Tyrol Basin from as far south as Chicago, Ill.   Tyrol’s attendance throughout the first few open weeks is “not record breaking, but pretty busy,” said McKay.

 

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YES!  That actually happened amidst the tropical weather that’s going on in Wisconsin.  Dedicated skiers and snowboarders that have been anticipating the start of the 2009-2010 season finally got their fix.  Tyrol plans to have enough snow made by next weekend to open a lift.

The time has come; ski season in the Midwest is upon us!  Tyrol Basin in Mt Horeb, Wis., has opened!  The hill opened a box and rail-filled hike only trail with a six to twelve inch base.  For the time being, the run is only open this weekend from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  However, as temps continue to drop more runs will have snow.

As Thanksgiving weekend approaches I cannot help but reminisce.  My thoughts drift back to all the wonderful opening days spent skiing during this weekend.  In particular, I am reminded of an opening weekend when I was 16.  Being an inexperienced driver it’s hard to forget that time in late November when it was necessary to drive through “blizzard-like conditions” just to ski the first traces of snow of the year.  Now, as I sit writing this and wearing moccasins (sans socks!) and one of my lighter North Faces, I crave a weekend of skiing decked out in goggles and winter jackets.

As of Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 10:54 a.m. the snowcam at Tyrol Basin in Mt. Horeb Wis., had roughly a two yard-wide trace of created snow at the bottom of the hill and snowguns lined the entire length of the bunnyhill- a sure sign that indeed there is hope.  So, this weekend, as my fingers remain crossed that snow is in the near future, I will enjoy my food and family-filled Thanksgiving without skiing.


The quote from Mt. Horeb Wisconsin’s Tyrol Basin Ski and Snowboard Area’s facebook status: “Tyrol Basin would like to answer the question ‘When are you going to make snow?’ As soon as possible when it won’t melt in a day. We’re counting the days too!” As temperatures continue to loom around the low fifties and high-forties in mid-November, one cannot help but curse the possible phenomenon of global warming.  While some Midwest hills open a box and rail-filled run in late October and most hills fully open the weekend of Thanksgiving, virtually no hill has even begun the snowmaking process. If this is a sign of things to come, us Midwesterners can anticipate a mild and muddy winter.

So, always looking to the positive… a lighter ‘fit will be necessary for at least the first couple weeks of the season, meaning SHOPPING TIME. CLOTHES!  This gear is lightweight, and will hide the mud that’s more likely to fly than flurries.

Of course, nothing weather-wise is ever guaranteed in the Midwest (seeing as there was no summer and it snowed in early October).  So keep all your winter gear at hand; cause though it’s eternally unpredictable, cold temperatures and snow will arrive at some point!

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