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Warm temps and heavy rain shuts down ski resorts in southern lower Michigan

Petr Kratochovil
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A warmer than average December has been rough on some of Michigan's ski resorts. 

Snow machines don't work well at temperatures above 28 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Ski resorts in the southern part of the lower peninsula had to close over the weekend as heavy rains drenched the slopes. 

Mickey MacWilliams is executive director of the Michigan Snow Sports Industries Association.  

She says it's a different story elsewhere. She spoke to Michigan Radio as she was getting out of the car to head to the slopes at Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort in northern Michigan.

"And we just got dumped with about 8 inches of snow," says MacWilliams, "so in some areas of the state, it's rain, and in some areas it's snow and it's really snowing here now."

MacWilliams says climate change is already hurting the industry in Michigan. 

She says many ski resorts are planning to invest in snow machines that can operate above 28 degrees.  

Many are also taking steps to become more sustainable, as well as urging customers to support carbon reduction policies on a national scale.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.