Snow lovers, rejoice. Colder temperatures have finally settled into the Miami Valley for the season and the folks at Mad River Mountain are already firing up their snow cannons to make the perfect conditions for lots of winter fun. But do you know the history behind the local winter hot spot? Here are four things you might not know about Ohio’s largest ski resort.
Bringing winter fun for over 50 years
Mad River Mountain opened to the public back in 1962, then under the name Valley Hi Ski Area. Since then, the resort was leased by Missouri-based company Peak Resorts and changed its name to the one we know now. The area features 23 trails, a tubing park, three terrain parks, and two beginner areas.
There’s no cannon like a snow cannon
The average snowfall in the area of Mad River Mountain only comes to about 36 inches a year. For that reason, the resort employs 130 snow cannons to cover all of their trails and ensure skiers, snowboarders and everyone in between has plenty of the white stuff to skim on safely.
In case you were wondering, resorts in snowier areas typically get at least 10 times as much true snow — or snow produced naturally — as Mad River Mountain. Mt. Baker Ski Area, located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, currently holds the record for snowiest season on record. During their 1998-99 season, they reportedly got 1,140 inches (for quick math, that’s 95 feet).
Recovered from a fire
The resort suffered a big loss in 2015 when a fire destroyed the locale’s well-known, historic lodge.
» GALLERY: Scenes at Mad River Mountain
A new $6.5 million lodge was built in its place and opened to the public in 2016. The new building can seat up to 1,100 visitors and features more spacious amenities than its predecessor, including a full kitchen and a loft bar. It also has stained glass windows in a tribute to the old lodge.
Some instructors use Mad River Mountain as a venue to train budding winter athletes. In the 1980s, Austrian Olympic silver medalist Josefine “Putzi” Frandl taught skiing at the resort. She won her medal in the giant slalom at the 1956 Winter Olympics, which took place in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. She presently lives in Colorado.
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