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Making snow

Northland ski hills ready to open

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Skiers and snowboarders, grab your gear. The weather you've been waiting for is nearly here.

The arrival of colder weather to the Northland has workers at ski hills at long last putting in long hours to make snow. Spirit Mountain and Giants Ridge will open at least one run on Saturday. Mount du Lac will likely open in a week.

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"We will have one run open Saturday for sure," Spirit Mountain Executive Director Renee Mattson said. "We're working on another run, but we need to make sure that when we have the snow on the runs it is going to be there for the season."

Spirit Mountain will open its Bindle Stiff run at 9 a.m. Saturday and operate until 9 p.m. On Sunday, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekday hours are noon to 8 p.m. Regular winter hours begin Dec. 12.

Weather permitting, the hill will make snow around the clock.

"Guns are still running right now, which is a beautiful thing," Mattson said Thursday afternoon. "It looks really good for the next several days. The forecast is great for us. By next weekend we'll have quite a bit more real estate open."

Giants Ridge near Biwabik is also making snow around the clock.

"We are going to open Saturday, 9 to 4:30," Giants Ridge Managing Director Linda Johnson said. "We will have the bunny hill open for $5 lift, $5 rental. We'll have free coffee and cookies. We'll have specials in the gift and golf shops. We hope people will come out and do some Christmas shopping and enjoy the product we have to offer."

The hill plans to open more alpine runs next weekend.

Mount du Lac in Wisconsin plans to open next weekend, although it could happen sooner.

"We have on our answering machine to call for daily updates," Brian Lagergren in Mount du Lac's mountain operations said. The number is (218) 626-3797.

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