Gladstone ski hill enjoys banner year

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone ski hill has enjoyed a longer than average season and has been recognized for its popular and innovative after school program.

Jason Davis, assistant director of the Gladstone parks and recreation department, said typically the ski hill closes around March 1, but a cold winter and new snowmaking equipment has kept conditions favorable for skiers, snowboarders, and tubers.

The new snowmaking system and a reservoir created prior to the 2013-14 ski season have allowed the park to produce snow continually as long as temperatures are below 25 degrees.

“Our biggest thing this year is it’s so cold,” Davis said. “We’ve had people cancel parties on us.”

Despite the cold, Davis said compared to the past few years attendance numbers have been up at the park.

New equipment and an extended season aren’t the only things the recreation department has to celebrate. The park’s after school program was recently awarded the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 7 Community Excellence Award at the league’s 2014 conference March 18.

The CEA program, called “The Race for the Cup,” was started by the league in 2007 to recognize innovative solutions taking place in Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships.