WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published December 21, 2011, 05:30 PM

No Snow? No Problem at Frost Fire Ski Area

WALHALLA, ND (WDAZ-TV0 - What do you do when you really need snow but mother nature won't cooperate? You make it yourself.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

WALHALLA, ND (WDAZ-TV0 - What do you do when you really need snow but mother nature won't cooperate?

You make it yourself.

The Frost Fire Ski Area plans to have all of its ski runs open by the weekend.

Temperatures have been cold enough to make snow and while there might be a lack of powder conditions, skiiers are still hitting the hills.

How to handle the hills was Wednesday's lesson for elementary students from Valley-Edinburg School.

"It's fun, kind of cold," Taylor Reilly said.

They are among the first skiers and boarders at the Frost Fire Ski Area, where no snow is no problem. Owner Richard Johnson calls this year fairly normal.

"With the exception of there is absolutely no snow in the corner of northeastern North Dakota," Johnson said.

Johnson says the weather has been cold enough to make snow, and they've already made enough to put a base of 18 to 20 inches on most of the area's ten runs.

From a distance, it's not hard to spot the white Frost Fire Hills in a sea of brown.

"They can ski on that. It's a little harder when it gets extremely cold because of the moisture content but it's there it lasts," Johnson said.

"Pretty full coverage out there right now. There are maybe one or two runs that are not quite open, but they are still making snow for that. The conditions are still pretty decent. It's still open," ski instructor Steven Anderson said.

The biggest problem with no snow across the region is the perception that the ski area also has none.

"You may think that there is no skiing because the fields are black, like you are going out to cultivate for the spring's work," Johnson said.

Frost Fire has been opened on weekends since Thanksgiving and thanks to the work of the snow-making machines, the runs are now open during the week.

"It's fake but it's good," student Ben Phelps said.

This is the 37th year the ski area has been open. They get about 20-25,000 skiers a year.

Johnson says they can make maximum snow when it's around ten degrees.

If it drops much below zero, they can actually have problems with the machines.