Forecast for Michigan skiing and snow sports improving soon

(WXYZ) - Now that December is upon us, skiers and snowmobilers have their own phrase for a stretch of warm days: inclement weather.

Thousands of skiers, sledders and climbers are itching for cold weather to move in so they can enjoy their sports. And it's looking nearly certain now that those itches will be scratched, starting the middle of next work week when cold air pours into southeast Michigan.

It's also looking likely that once the colder-than-average air moves in, it's going to last awhile.

When I reached out to our southeast Michigan ski areas today, I learned they all plan to open as soon as the weather allows.

Alpine Valley, Mt. Brighton, Mt. Holly and Pine Knob each have modern snowmaking equipment that is ready to go. All they need are temperatures around 28 degrees F or colder to get those guns working to cover their slopes.

And it looks like we could have many hours, even during the day starting late next week, when we'll be at least that cold. 

And machine made snow is more durable than snow that falls from the sky. Ten inches of dry natural snow, when packed, often only adds about one inch to the slope's base, while ten inches of denser machine-made snow adds up to seven inches of base.

But this shift to colder weather due next week will also likely bring us snow squalls and possibly widespread snow eventually here in metro Detroit.

 Lake effect snow will be much more likely west and north of us, so northern Michigan's ski areas will likely get more terrain open more quickly once the weather turns.

Even if you're not a fan of winter sports, if you live in Michigan, you live in the second ranked state in the country for number of skiing areas. You can track what's going on on those hills here

You don't even have to just rely on reported numbers when you can click to see real-time webcams at many ski areas.

As we turn the calendar to December, natural snow cover is absent in metro Detroit and most of the state except for some spots in the U.P., but snowmobilers should rejoice knowing that, too, will change soon. 

And if you stretched out all the snowmobile trails in Michigan, they could go from New York to Los Angeles and back again with room to spare.

But why go to those cities, when we have great snowmobiling here, along with snowshoeing, dogsledding and even ice climbing to keep you active when it turns cold here at home?

So if you love the mild weather, make the most of the next few days, basically through sometime Tuesday, December 5. After that, remember that hibernation is for bears and there's plenty of action to be enjoyed outside in the cold around here.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I've been an avid skier since I was 10 years old, which is more than 20 years.

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