By Breanna Bishop
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
LANSING — While many reveled in the unseasonably warm weather Michigan has had, the lack of snow and low temperatures were not good for Hawk Island Snow Park, 1601 E. Cavanaugh Road.
The snow park was scheduled to open in mid-December, but the opening was delayed because of technical difficulties and abnormally dry and warm weather.
“Clearly, the weather had its impact on every ski area in the United States, so we were on schedule to open with artificial snow-making by the middle of December,” said Pete Bosheff, project coordinator for Urban Snow Parks, LLC. Bosheff said that the snow-making machines were missing a component that was needed to create snow and delayed the process by six weeks.
Willis Bennett, Ingham County Parks director, said the park has three snow makers that helped the park open on Saturday, Feb. 18.
“Maybe, Wednesday or Thursday of last week, we made snow for five days and obviously ran them all night and we brought them into the daytime as long as we could because if it got too warm, we had to shut them off,” said Bennett. “But, we were able to make enough snow in those five days.”
The park was a result of a $75,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, which was matched by the county, said Bosheff. In urban areas, such as Lansing, there aren’t many winter activities and Hawk Island Snow Park allows people to participate in winter sports.
“For people who already snowboard and ski, it gives them something to do,” said Lindsay Johnson, manager of Modern Skate and Surf in Lansing Charter Township. “It’s closer because the closest places are all about an hour drive from here, so that’s like one super benefit for the people that already snowboard and ski.”
Johnson, who is also a member of the Hawk Island Action Sports Operations Committee, said the snow park also offers those who aren’t familiar with winter sports an opportunity to learn about them. She noted that the low admission fees ($5 for children and $7 for adults) and accessible location make it a great asset to the area.
“It’s gonna be good for the community to get kids into snowboarding and skiing who never thought they’d be able to because of how expensive the sport is,” said Johnson.