Skiers, Mountains Thrive in Snowy, Olympic Season

It almost makes you stop when you hear skiers and snowboarders talking about the winter that's become so infamous.

"We've had a lot of snow this year for sure, but it's very pleasant on the ski hill," said Julie McClendon as she skied past.

"Anyone who hasn't come down here, come down here because it's fun," said Carson Shelvin, who was skiing for the first time.

"Get out before it gets too warm," said Steve Bergeron, using a day off to ski with his son.

Before it gets too warm?

In a season that stands out for shoveling and brutally cold temperatures, there weren't many complaints to be heard at Mt. Brighton ski area.

"I mean the weather's been incredible," said Mt. Brighton General Manager Taylor Ogilvie. "Cold temperatures, lots of natural snow. You couldn't ask for better weather for the season."

The ski area still made snow to ensure a solid base, but Ogilvie says nothing beats the real stuff.

"When Mother Nature makes it easier, it's great," he said.

Ogilvie says the entire mountain has been open almost all year long, and skiers and riders of all ages were soaking it all up.

"The ski season has treated us well obviously like everyone in Michigan," said Bergeron. "Plenty of snow, plenty of fun. The ski slopes are doing well."

Fewer people skied on the extremely cold days this winter -- Mt. Brighton was among many resorts that even closed a few times -- but overall, the season is being declared a success.

Part of the push is thanks to the Olympics too, Ogilvie said.

"I think there's a little bit of enthusiasm around the winter time and maybe it encourages some people to come out and enjoy this sport," he said.

The television coverage is what brought Jennifer Baruzzini out to the slopes from her Howell home for the first time in eight years.

"The snowboarding on the Olympics has for sure made me want to come out and ride some more," she said.

Her companions, Dave and Dana Jamnik, are more regular skiers, but the thrill for them is the same.

"The Olympics, you can't stop watching," said Dana. "It inspires you to be outside enjoying the fresh air."

Vail Resorts acquired Mt. Brighton in December 2012, but Ogilvie considers this winter the first "real" season where the ski area could fully implement Vail's changes.

New snowmakers, a renovated dining area and improved lifts and terrain are among the highlights.


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