If It Weren’t For Bad Luck, Michigan’s Ski Operators Would Have No Luck At All
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that Michigan has a mild winter. While the past few days have seen temps in the 20's, that not really cold, in the grand scheme of things. Of course, there are businesses that rely on winter weather, and the prospect of temps nearing 60 this coming week could be a disaster.
Several announcements have poured in, with Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville opening Friday (December 10th), Bittersweet in Ostego already open (and expecting a good turnout, despite reports of a shortage of workers. Swiss Valley, it appears, is holding off until the weekend of December 18th. Timber Ridge, west of Kalamazoo is imploring fans to do a "cold weather dance".
This part of lower Michigan has not had a traditional snow packed winter in a number of years. And it looks like these are not big corporations that own these ski resorts, so a tough season or two and it could mean financial ruin for a small operator. Can you see these places going out of business, much like so many recreational related businesses have done? Bowling alleys, golf courses, the Putt Putt on South Westnedge in Portage, even the Formula K Go Kart track has been repurposed. And while it may be a bit of a stretch, MC Sports is gone. If people were still doing activities like skiing and other things, would they still be around for events like the annual Ski Swap. Remember those?
The easy conclusion to make would be that more and more people are being sucked into the vortex that is their smart phone. Is that too easy a scapegoat? While better ski conditions would certainly entice skiers and snowboarders, I guess time will tell.