Ontario's largest ski resort will reopen its summer activities this weekend after weeks of mild weather have made it impossible to make or keep snow on its slopes.
Staff at Blue Mountain, near Collingwood, Ont., have already set up the mini golf course at the foot of the ski hill. That attraction is popular in T-shirt weather but is typically covered with snow and skiers during the winter months.
"We just thought, let's make these activities happen because Mother Nature wants us to be playing on the green stuff," said spokesperson Tara Lovell.
After enjoying the putting green, would-be skiers can tackle the resort's climbing wall, zip-lines, rope courses and roller coaster — all activities that the resort typically only offers in off-season months.
Meanwhile, staff are "as ready as they have ever been" for snow-making, Lovell said.
Crews are testing equipment and watching the weather as they prepare to make snow over the holidays. "As soon as the temperatures are ready, we're ready," Lovell said. Even if it's Christmas Day.
The latest Blue Mountain has ever opened for skiing is December 26. Some predictions suggest they may be on track to match or exceed that late opening again this year.
A warmer-than-usual El Nino weather system is to blame for the higher-than-normal temperatures in southern Ontario during the late fall period. It's also why Toronto has seen less than one centimetre of measurable snow at Pearson airport's weather station so far. By this time last year, the city had seen nearly 35 cm of snow.
CBC Meteorologist Jay Scotland said the province has not seen an El Nino pattern this mild since the winter of 1997/1998.
But Scotland hasn't completely ruled out the possibility of snow for December 25.
"All it takes is one storm system to roll in, drop some rain, then drop some temperatures, then we see some snowfall and snow on the ground," he said.
It's still too early to make firm predictions. But it looks like Blue Mountain, at least, is hedging its bets.