Timber Ridge Ski Area opens for the season after winter weather drought


    After a sluggish start, skiers and snowboarders in West Michigan are finally able to get out on the slopes. During November and the holidays, some outdoor ski areas struggled to stay open due to lack of snow, but remaining ski areas are preparing to open. (WWMT/Andrew Bisset)

    After a sluggish start, skiers and snowboarders in West Michigan are finally able to get out on the slopes. During November and the holidays, some outdoor ski areas struggled to stay open due to lack of snow, but remaining ski areas are preparing to open.

    Timber Ridge Ski Area in Gobles opened on Friday. The ski area was packed all weekend long.

    Mashyat Tomory crossed one thing off her bucket list on Sunday.

    "This is first time I've seen a ski thing or seen snow on a mountain," Tomory said.

    Tomory drove nearly three hours with her boyfriend to ski at Timber Ridge Ski Area on Sunday.

    "No other places were open because there was not enough snow," said Tomory.

    Tomory is one of hundreds hitting the slopes this weekend at Timber Ridge Ski Area. Allegan resident Matthew Young is a regular at Timber Ridge. Opening weekend was long overdue for Young.

    "It's been annoying. We had stuff ready to go before Thanksgiving and had to wait for awhile, so this was a little disappointing," Young said.

    Luke Schrab, one of Timber Ridge's owners said the ski area hasn't opened after the holidays in years.

    "When people aren't able to come out, and you finally get open, it's usually pretty crowded for the first weekends. We tend to recover, now we're hoping we make it out until March," Schrab said.

    Schrab said unseasonable weather prevented Timber Ridge and other ski areas from opening since they rely heavily on man-made snow.

    "This year it was just warm in December, and January. Just warm. So we could not make snow," Schrab said.

    With plenty of fresh powder now on the ground, there was plenty of fun to go around.

    "It was exciting, there was a big adrenaline rush," said Tomory.

    Workers at Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area in Jones have been making snow all weekend long, and plan to open on Monday. It will be the latest opening day in decades.

    Other ski areas like Bittersweet Ski Resort opened for the season on Nov. 15. Cannonsburg Ski Area in Kent County opened on Dec. 14.

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