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Detroit Mountain set to open Friday with limited runs

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- The day after Thanksgiving may be Black Friday for holiday shoppers, but over at the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Nov. 25 is known as White Friday -- as in, it's opening day for the local ski lodge.

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If Friday's season opener at the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area proceeds as planned, a limited number of runs will be accessible from the Z-lift. (File photo by Brian Basham | Forum News Service)

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- The day after Thanksgiving may be Black Friday for holiday shoppers, but over at the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Nov. 25 is known as White Friday - as in, it’s opening day for the local ski lodge.

“We’re planning to be open Friday, with limited runs available,” says DMRA General Manager Jeff Staley, though he notes that, as is always the case for an outdoor recreation facility, Mother Nature has a big role to play.

“We are scheduled to be open during normal operating hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but if it warms up or something changes we may have to amend that.

“The little bit of natural snowfall we’ve had was nice to kind of get things covered in white, but it didn’t really add substantially to our ability to open,” he added. “It settles out too much and doesn’t provide the base you need to be able to ski.”

That means the snowmaking equipment at the mountain has been going full blast, every time the temperature got cold enough.

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“They began making snow on Friday (Nov. 18),” Staley said, and kept running 24 hours a day until Monday afternoon, when the thermometer rose a little too high.

“The temps have to be 28 degrees or below, ideally,” he added. “The rain Monday night set us back a little.”

If the opening proceeds as planned, “there will be one or two runs open off the Z-lift, and a run in our beginner area,” Staley said. “We will have what we’re calling a ‘hikeable’ terrain park, which means that it will not have any lift service, but we will have rails and boxes set up on it. They’ll be able to ski down, but they’ll have to hike back up.”

Limited ski instruction will also be available.

“We will have some instructors on site to help with the ‘never evers’ - the ones who’ve never skied before,” said Staley. “But we will not be offering full-fledged lessons until at least the weekend of Dec. 3.”

The opening of the new, expanded tubing hill, meanwhile, is tentatively set for Dec. 10 as of now.

“We will continue to open things up as we are able to either make more snow, or get more snowfall,” Staley said.

The mountain will not be open Monday through Thursday of next week (Nov. 28-Dec. 1), but the current plan is to open at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, with “better than 50 percent” of the runs ready for use, he added.

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Normal hours of operation will resume on Saturday, Dec. 3, and hopefully continue for the rest of the season.

“Check our website (detroitmountain.com) for updates,” Staley said.

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