The Winter that Wasn’t

Local hills done for, and 78 degrees all over the state, even the “up north” ski resorts are closing up shop two or three weeks ahead of schedule so there’s no more pretending that this winter wasn’t awful in so many ways.

2011-2012 snow depth from

But there were a few positives about the winter that wasn’t — it really showcased the resolve of our local ski hills, who did everything humanly possible to give us a good season when Mother Nature turned her back on us.

Pine Knob – I’ve ragged on the Knob previously (here and in a roundabout way, here), but they absolutely blew me away this year by taking the Timberline terrain park to the next level: More jibs, more features, better and more creative lines, serviced on the left by a tow rope and on the right by a chairlift, better maintained and more creative lines than I’ve ever seen there before, Pine Knob gets our seal of approval for best terrain park in Southeast Michigan.

Pine Knob's terrain park, closing day 2012
Pine Knob's terrain park, closing day 2012

Mt. Holly – The crew at Mt. Holly did a great  job opening as many runs as possible as early as possible, and keeping them open as long as possible. Add a killer jump line to the mix, and that they added a few advanced rail features in the intermediate park, Mt. Holly was a good ride all season long.

Alpine Valley – Props for opening the mini-pipe even if it was only for a few weeks, the progression park area is always fun for all ages & skill levels, you just needed more snow this year.

Overall, there were a few days early in the season where they had to close due to weather but for the most part, they were able to cope, which is amazing considering how few days it was even cold enough to blow snow (pretty sure there were only 1 or 2 days in the entire month of February).

The best part about the winter that wasn’t, is that I didn’t ride a single icy park lap all season long; we had “spring-like” conditions in January and February and summer conditions in March.

Hopefully next year I will be able to complain about how icy and cold it is, because although this winter was pretty fun, it was super frustrating from beginning to end.

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