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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

MQT resort opens earliest in decades

SHOOPIN’, SLIDIN’ SLOPES—Marquette Mountain invites skiers and snowboarders for its earliest opening of the year at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22. Regardless of recent warm temperatures, the resort workers predict a good turnout with the use of their snow machines. Photo courtesy of Andrew Farron

Thanksgiving break for Wildcats will be met with the opening day of Marquette Mountain on  at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. This is the earliest in the season that the mountain has opened in quite a few years.

“This is the earliest we’ve opened in a decade or so. Snow-making has been way better than in the past,” Marquette Mountain Marketing and Events Director Kyle Lafrinere said. “Our snow-makers and garage crew have been working tirelessly to put in the hours and effort to gang up and they’ve done an amazing job.”

The whole mountain is unable to open due to warming temperatures of almost 40 degrees this week, leading up to opening day, but the mountain will still have a few runs open. Workers predict that a decent amount of people still plan to head out and hit the slopes, regardless of temperature.

“We’ll have a couple runs open for this weekend, then when the temperatures go back down to below freezing, that will allow us to get back to making snow,” Lafrinere said.

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Since February of 2019, new management practices under General Manager Andrew Farron  have garnered excitement among those who enjoy outdoor activities, and now community members are looking forward to a new season on the slopes, Lafrinere said.

“Everyone, even in the community, was pretty hyped up and excited at the end of last year for the changes that were made and things that were put into place,” Lafrinere said. “I think everyone is really excited to get out this year.”

Working alongside Farron has boosted the confidence of Lafrinere, who took on his new position in marketing only a couple weeks ago.

“Andrew is a guy [whom] radiates motivation and positivity. He’s super gung-ho to make a difference at Marquette Mountain and [with] everything he does,” Lafrinere said. “I knew him personally before taking this job, and everything he does is 110% all the time. He’s a great person to work next to.”

A change has been made in the cost of season passes. This year, two types of passes exist: unlimited ($259) and limited ($169). The limited pass may cost less, but includes a restriction against the ticket-holder preventing them from skiing before 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, whereas the unlimited pass has no “black out” days or restrictions, Lafrinere said. 

Though these prices have increased from $99 last year, Marquette Mountain passes are still cheaper than those surrounding resorts.

“At $99 as they were last year, it was way too cheap and it wasn’t sustainable for operations,” Lafrinere said. “If you were to look at other resorts in the area, we are still one of the cheaper passes. In the grand-scheme of things, [this is] a very reasonably-priced season pass for what you’re getting.”

The physical mountain may speak for itself, but there is a lot that happens behind the scenes that many community members don’t get to witness, Lafrinere explained. 

As far as marketing strategies go, the Marquette Mountain Instagram page is “actively growing,” and talks have been going on indicating that there will be a Snapchat page started and maybe even a web-series similar to that of vlogging, Lafrinere said.

“We’re really capitalizing on social media, [something] I feel has been lacking with Marquette Mountain in the past,” Lafrinere said. “A monthly video or something of what’s happening at the mountain [will help] people see behind the scenes and be involved that way.” 

What people will notice right away, however, is the coming change in retail space and the efforts done to create a more inviting space for customer service. 

“Last year, our retail space was up in the old Alpine Room. We moved our retail space back downstairs to a place we call ‘guest services,’ which will be like a sports shop and ticket office, all in one location,” Lafrinere said. “That gave us back the Alpine Room for people to bring in their gear, have a place to put their bags and get ready.” 

Those who lived in Marquette last year witnessed a snowfall record that surpassed 200 inches, and though we can never be sure as to how much snow this winter will bring in, Lafrinere concluded, “The more snow, the better.”

Season passes can be purchased in person or online at

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