After spending nearly $250,000 on improvements, all Snowstar Ski Winter Sports Park needs a little cold weather.
Snowstar general manager Ed Meyer on Wednesday said crews have been busy making snow when they can. He said he hoped to be open by Dec. 8, but warm temperatures are postponing that opening until Dec. 15.
"Looking at the forecast, it looks like we might be able to make snow at night Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and then be open by the 15th. And then I think we will be able to stay open after that," Mr. Meyer said. "We're all ready; we just need some cold temps."
Snowstar's many improvements during the off-season included new snow makers. Italso dug out a three-acre lake on the property to increase water capacity and aid snow-making. Dirt from thelake project was used to double the capacity of the tube hill and smooth out some low portions of the parking lot.
Snowstar also installed geo-thermal heat beneath a patio to keep ice from forming on the surface. And Mr. Meyer said Snowstar spent about $75,000 on new rental skis and snowboards.
Now all they need are cooler temperatures.
Mr. Meyer said his crew can start making snow when temperatures dip to the lower 20s. Perfect snow-making weather comes with low humidity, he said.
"We had a good couple of nights, but this warm up is going to keep us from making any for a couple days," Mr. Meyer said. "We shouldn't lose much as long as it doesn't rain."
When conditions are right, Snowstar can make snow 24 hours a day right up to the opening, Mr. Meyer said. After they open, however, snow-making will be limited to nights.
"Nobody wants to ski while we are making snow," he said. "That's pretty miserable."
Today is Sunday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad will carry all who wish to attend the Chicago convention for half fare — that is, full fare to Chicago and return free. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Hardy Hetter, for several years yardmaster in the Burlington Railroad yards in Rock Island and Moline, was transferred to Beardstown. He was succeeded here by J.E. Albrecht. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Corn was estimated at 50 percent of the normal crop in Rock Island County by Crop Correspondent Thomas Campbell. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Robert Carroll, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Farr Carroll, of near Aledo, won the grand championship of the Mercer County baby beef show with "Fat Stuff." 1964 -- 50 years ago: About 250 persons attended the first in a series of horse shows at the Hillandale Stables off Knoxville Road near Milan on Saturday afternoon and evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Ground was broken this morning for the $4.5 million Rock Valley Business Park near Rock Valley Plaza, Rock Island. The first building is 17,000 square feet for offices and a warehouse and should be completed by Dec. 1.