One local ski area waiting on help from Mother Nature, other is open for business

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The weather hasn’t exactly been perfect for making snow, but one ski resort in the region is managing to keep its slopes open for business and another has plans to open soon.

Everything is ready to go at Mad River Mountain ski area in Logan County … except the outdoor temperatures they need for snowmaking for the holiday season. Meanwhile, at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, the attraction is open and there’s some snow on the slopes, despite weather conditions that are not so winter-friendly.

High temperatures the next couple days will be in the 40s, down from recent days in the 50s but still not cold, with the possibility of some rain. Lows will be in the 30s the next two nights, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

“We are ready to open. We are waiting on Mother Nature to tag in with snowmaking temps,” said Alajos Fiel, general manager at Mad River Mountain, which is 30-35 miles north of Springfield. “We are currently in our normal opening window, which is anytime between mid-December to early January. Opening day is my favorite day of the year. We are ready to welcome our guests back.”

Fiel, who is in his 15th season at Mad River Mountain and his first as the general manager, said snowmaking requires much more than temperatures of 32 degrees or lower.

“For effective snowmaking that sticks and really builds the snow conditions, we need many atmospheric conditions that impact the level of snowmaking production, a few examples being temperature, humidity and wind,” he said. “It’s an art and a science; in addition to what is outlined above, the magic number we look for is a wet bulb temp of 27 degrees.”

Fiel said snowmaking also needs a series of days with these aligned atmospheric conditions to make impactful snow that will stick and sustain long enough to be pushed out to create the skiing and snowboarding surface.

“And, of course, we need a team of skilled snowmakers on the mountain to ensure everything is dialed in,” he said.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“Whales” are an odd idea on land, but they’re important to snowmaking.

“We build ‘whales,’ which are giant piles of snow that we continue to build upon until the temps are cold enough for our grooming team to push the snow and spread it across the resort,” he said. “We fondly refer to our snowmaking crew as ‘Team Blizzard.’ They have been maximizing the snowmaking windows whenever possible. The whales are slowly but surely piling up across the resort as we get more and more conditions allowing snowmaking.”

Fiel said once Mad River Mountain opens, their priority is continued terrain expansion, and they plan to make snow at every opportunity this season.

Late-night skiing returning this year

Fiel said Mad River Mountain is bringing back late-night skiing on select nights as well as offering college ID nights and $5 rental specials.

“We have amazing ski school options,” he said. “We want to encourage those interested to leverage our fantastic instructors and try something new this year. Plus, we have live music, great dining options and a refreshed chalet that connects to the Bubly Tubing Park.”

For more information on operating hours, ski conditions, events or to make lift ticket purchases, visit the Mad River Mountain website at

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Perfect North already open

Mad River is not the only option in the region for hitting the slopes. Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, about 35 miles southwest of Hamilton, said Tuesday it is open from 9:30 a.m. to midnight each night this week and on Sunday for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.

Thirteen of its 23 trails for skiing and snowboarding are open, with an average 6- to 12-inch base throughout the skiable terrain, according to Alex Perfect, who has been with Perfect North Slopes for 16 years.

“When weather conditions allow for snowmaking, we strive to maximize our snow output to the best of our ability,” Perfect said. “In the off-season, we focus on repairing and updating our snowmaking system so that it is ready for the winter ahead.”

Snow tubing at the attraction is open with up to 10 lanes, and two terrain parks are open with numerous features for advanced snowboarders and skiers, plus beginner terrain park features.

“The number of trails open will likely remain the same until colder temperatures arrive. There are potential snowmaking opportunities around the first day of the year,” Perfect said. “The snow has been great this season so far.”

A snow report on the business’ site said terrain will continue to be limited until there is significant cold weather that allows for long hours of snowmaking.

Tuesday’s conditions featured “a soft, granular snow surface, that will be machine groomed” and snow conditions that would remain consistent throughout the day, Perfect said.

Skiing by the numbers


Opened: 1962 (as Valley Hi Ski Area)

Highest elevation: 1,460 feet

Longest vertical drop: 300 feet

Skiable terrain: 144 acres

Snowmaking guns: 100+

Snowmaking coverage: 100%

Trails: 16

Lifts: 9

Terrain Parks: 3



Opened: 1980

Highest Elevation: 400 feet

Longest Vertical Drop: 300 feet

Skiable terrain: 100 acres

Snowmaking guns: 200 tower-mounted snow guns

Snowmaking coverage: 100%

Trails: 23

Lifts: 12 in all (5 chairlifts and 7 surface lifts)

Terrain Parks: 2

SOURCES: Mad River Mountain, Perfect North Slopes