The last few days have seen warmer temperatures and rain at Twin Cities ski areas, a development that may depress the spirits of snow lovers. They they do have one benefit: they mean that people who do head out to ski areas will have more room to themselves.
It's natural to think that if there's no snow in your yard, the same is true of a ski area. Yet there is a substantial difference between you and the owner of a ski area: You have no financial incentive to do anything about variable weather, he or she does.
Ski areas invest large sums of money and people to buy and run snowmaking systems. These investments help them open earlier and closer later in the season than would otherwise be the case. They also provide a cushion for in-season thaws such as the one we've experienced lately.
Snowmaking systems are coupled with groomers, which produce smooth, skiable snow. Without groomers, the snow at most Midwestern ski areas would soon resemble a lake with frozen waves: It would be picturesque, but not exactly skiable.
A representative of Wild Mountain summed up the situation well: "the snow on the hills will hold up fine, we've got plenty of snow, but I'm guessin there won't be many people enjoying the snow."
You know the cliche, "seeing is believing?" Sometimes "seeing is deceiving," if you're seeing only your own yard.