Contact: Mickey MacWilliams, MSIA Executive Director
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There’s snow on Michigan ski slopes, even if the ground is bare in your backyard

CLARKSTON, MI (Winter 2013/2014) – Even when the ground is bare, there is plenty of snow on Michigan’s ski slopes, thanks to advanced snowmaking equipment. Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, says that even if Mother Nature doesn’t provide the perfect base of snow, Michigan’s ski areas are prepared to make it.  “Each year our ski areas add more and better snowmaking equipment, to insure that when temperatures are 28º or lower, there will be snow on the slopes,” she adds. 

Snowmaking facts

Even if the ground is bare, with just a little cold weather, Michigan’s ski slopes can be blanketed in white.

  • Twenty-eight˚ F. is the “magic number” for snowmaking.  When the temperatures drop below this mark, you can be sure Michigan ski areas are making snow.
  • 10 inches of natural snow, when packed, usually adds only one inch of snow to  the ski slope’s base while 10 inches of man-made snow adds seven inches of base.  Man-made snow is more dense and durable.
  • For every 10-degree temperature drop, snowmakers can double the output of machine-made snow.
  • Humidity is a factor as well.  The lower the humidity, the better for making snow.  If you add the temperature plus the humidity, that sum should equal less than 100 for favorable snowmaking weather. 
  • James Dilworth built and patented the first fan snowmaking gun in the world while at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan.  He refined and improved on his first gun while at Nub’s Nob, resulting in another patient.

More ski and snow-related facts:

  • Each year Michigan welcomes between 2 million and 2.4 million skier visits to our slopes
  • Michigan and New York are tied for the most ski areas in any state
  • The typical ski season is 100 to 104 days long
  • Winter travel accounts for nearly one third of the $17.7 billion-a-year Michigan travel industry
  • Skiing is accessible! No matter where you live in the state, you are within a 2-hour drive of a ski area. 

For more information on snowmaking, go to: (for snow maker)

For Michigan ski information and links to Michigan snow conditions, visit



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