PENINSULA, Ohio (WJW) – Vail Resorts is preparing to open its three local ski resorts for a new season, hoping to put some of the challenges of 2021 behind them.

The company targets opening Boston Mills, Brandywine and Alpine Valley resorts on December 17th.

The resorts could start making snow as soon as this weekend.

“Temperatures are dropping this weekend so we are hoping to turn on some guns getting some snow piles made we are not sure if it’s going to open early, but we are still looking at December 17th as our starting date,” said spokesperson Jake Campbell.

The resorts are looking to bounce back after a challenging winter of 2021 during which warmer than average temperatures in December combined with staffing shortages to keep two of its resorts closed early in the season and limit the hours of Boston Mills.

“I think that was our biggest challenge, and we have increased minimum wage to 20 dollars an hour, so I can confidently say we are well staffed right now still a few positions remaining,” said Campbell.

In addition, the company was still struggling with following health and safety protocols as COVID-19 remained a concern.

Campbell said vaccination and masking requirements have now been lifted as have last year’s restrictions to access the dining areas of the resorts.

In the off-season, the company made a major investment in its lifts at both Boston Mills and Brandywine.

A total of about five million dollars was spent installing new lifts that can carry twice as many people.

“So that means more time on the snow, less time in lines really going to increase the experience you have at these resorts because they are our main lifts,” said Campbell.

Some additional facelifts will be noticeable inside the resorts themselves.

And while the actual opening of the resorts is dependent to a large extent on the elements, the resorts are already offering passes online for the coming season, hoping to make up for the challenges of last year.

“I grew up with these resorts too. I learned to ski and ride here just as many of you have, and it truly takes a lot of dedicated staff and team members to make this place come alive, and I’m really excited to welcome everybody back for this season,” said Campbell.