While the Friday after Thanksgiving is usually referred to as "Black Friday," in honor of the special early holiday shopping deals offered by area businesses, in Detroit Lakes, it's called "White Friday" - as in, the day set for the official winter season opener at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area.
While the DMRA season opener has been beset by weather woes - in the form of temperatures too warm for snowmaking, and/or rainfall - in years past, General Manager Jeff Staley said Tuesday afternoon that conditions for this year's White Friday at the Mountain are "looking very good."
Despite the fact that the opener is about a week earlier than years past, due to the early Thanksgiving holiday date, Staley says, "We are about 85 percent ready. There are a couple of our back trails where we're still making snow, but every lift will be running, and the tubing area will be open."
Unlike last year's White Friday opener, where the temperature reached a high of 42 and rain fell on the slopes during the morning hours, "I don't think it's going to get quite that warm this year, and there doesn't look like there's any rain in the forecast, so we're in much better shape."
In addition, the temperatures have been consistently cold enough this month that DMRA staff began making snow the week of Nov. 5, and have been able to continue doing so almost constantly since then - which means snow coverage on the slopes should be pretty solid through the weekend.
"Plus we got a little natural snowfall as well," Staley added. "It doesn't add a significant amount (to the slope coverage), but it certainly doesn't hurt."
The slopes will be open for skiing and snowboarding on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"The tubing lodge opens an hour later and closes an hour earlier each day," Staley added.
In addition, one of the Mountain's two terrain parks, The Railyard, will be open, though the nearby Jump Park won't quite be ready for this weekend - but those itching to try it out won't have too long a wait.
"Our guys think we'll be 100 percent open by Dec. 1," Staley said.
While there haven't been any noticeable additions or expansions to the Mountain's facilities this year, said Staley, there have been some mechanical upgrades behind the scenes.
"We did get a second snowmaking well, and we did some work on one of our lifts," he added.
After this weekend, the Mountain will be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then reopen Thursday and Friday, Nov. 29-30, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Finally on Saturday, Nov. 1, they begin their regular winter operating hours, which are: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Mondays, 4-9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Wednesdays, closed; Thursdays, 12-9 p.m.; and Fridays, 12-9 p.m.
For more information, please visit the website at www.detroitmountain.com, or call 218-844-SNOW.