Mt. La Crosse opens for first time this season

Dec. 26 is one of the latest opening days for Mt. La Crosse in its 56-year history, but on Saturday there was just enough to open for the first time this season.

To get from the chalet to the chair lift, skiers and snowboarders have to walk across the wet and muddy grass, but a few of them said it’s worth it because they’re finally out on the slopes.

“The thrill of going down the hill really fast and then wiping out is sometimes fun — if you don’t break anything, that is,” snowboarder Zach Bolyard said.

“I don’t want to kill myself, but it’s fun. I don’t ski very often so it’s a treat,” skier Joe Jackson said.

Mt. La Crosse General Manager Darcie Breidel is also thrilled to have the ski season finally beginning, but she says it was a battle to get to this point.

“We’ve had very little snow-making weather, we’ve had to capitalize on the little bit of weather that we’ve had, so we’re still not way behind, but we’re a couple of weeks past, on average, than what we would do for an opening date,” Breidel said.

Breidel said to make snow, there needs to be long stretches of cold weather, but up until last weekend that had not happened.

“That really made all the difference for us, that’s why we were able to today was because of the great weather we had last weekend,” Breidel said.

There are just two of the 19 runs at Mount La Crosse open as of now. Breidel is optimistic, however, that will soon change.

“We’re just having to be really smart about how we make snow and when we make snow so that we can get through this season and hopefully bring some great skiing,” she said.

The week surrounding Christmas is typically one of the busiest of the season for Mt. La Crosse, because of kids out of school and families in town for the holidays, Breidel said, so she is pleased the hill was finally able to open this week.

Breidel said the late start means business-wise it will be a tough year, so she’s hoping for the rest of the season the temperatures cool down.

“You know, when you’re dealing with the weather, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. We just have to keep being positive and working with what we get,” Breidel said.

Mt. La Crosse hosts several high school ski meets during the season. None has been canceled yet, but the first one is not until mid-January. Breidel said other ski hills have had to reschedule meets already due to lack of snow.

Mt. La Crosse will be open during the holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Breidel recommends checking the Mt. La Crosse website or call ahead in case of any changes due to weather.