[R500R, Wild Mountain] has officially started the Heartland ski season with one of the earliest opens ever.  While other Midwesterners are scurrying to cover their rose bushes, ski area operators are taking advantage of the cold snap to fire up the snowguns.  They once opened on October 19, which was the earliest date for starting the Midwest ski season. 

"We opened at 9 a.m. this morning - October 28 - with one intermediate run, Expressway, and hope to have a couple more ready by the end of the day," said Vice President Amy Frischmon.  "We are operating one chairlift today, and will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  We are excited to be starting the Midwest ski season."

Wild Mt. normally competes with [R370R, Ski Brule] in Michigan's UP for opening honors.  Both are normally within a day of each other, and Brule plans on opening before Halloween, according to an attendant.

The medal in the ski and snowboard sweepstake- and an automatic mention on all the local TV weather reports - goes to the ski area that's the first to open its ticket window in the fall.  The last time we had an October opening was the 2002/03 season, and that was slightly earlier on October 24.  Those honors went to Brule.

Other Great Lakes ski areas - always the first to open in the Midwest - will be following soon.  Follow OnTheSnow.com for the season's latest news.