December 27, 2001 at 7:43 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 3:16 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) - All seven of Ohio's ski areas opened on Wednesday -- with a sigh of relief.
Operators said they didn't think it was ever going to be cold enough to make and keep snow.
It was one of the latest openings ever in Ohio skiing history, as unseasonably warm weather stretched through December.
Finally, late Sunday, it got cold enough to crank up the snow-making machines. Snow-making can begin when the temperature dips below 28 degrees but is best when it's in the teens.
The National Weather Service said temperatures should stay in the 20s for at least the next week to 10 days.
Scott Crislip, business manager at Snow Trails in Richland County, said the staff was getting nervous as the unseasonably warm weather continued past Thanksgiving.
"It wasn't a panic, but there was some concern," he said.
Both natural and man-made snow were flying at Snow Trails on Wednesday, and long lines of skiers were packed into the entrance of the rustic lodge, waiting to buy lift tickets.
"We've been sitting here and feeling really nervous," said Werner Seidel, manager of another Richland County ski area, Clear Fork in Butler, where the opening was the latest in at least a decade. "We were frantic. Luckily, the cold weather came just in time for Christmas. It's a nice Christmas present, at least for the ski areas."
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)