MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Winter has made it abundantly clear that it is here.
Mount Kato is taking full advantage of that and gearing up for another season of winter fun.
Mount Kato is one of the hot spots for snowboarding, skiing and winter tubing in Southern Minnesota.
The ski area has been working since summer for the 2020-2021 season to start and once the temperatures dropped they wasted no time firing everything up.
“Once we get to cooler temperatures, we get out the snow gun, hook up the hoses, electrical cords, turn them on and start making some piles," Mount Kato Ski Area General Manager John Nelson said.
Mount Kato uses a snow machine to give their slopes the extra cushion for the best plow possible.
There are many misconceptions with how the snow-making process works at Mount Kato.
“I think a lot of people misunderstand too, when it is snowing outside that doesn’t always mean we can make snow. It has to be about 28 degrees before the snow crystallizes in the air well the water crystallizes in the air and then turns to snow," Mount Kato Ski Area lift manager Shane Sandmeyer said.
Not many people know, but there is an art and strategy for making their own snow.
“The difference between the snow we make and real snow is we can kind of control how wet it is or how dry it is. The beginning of the year, we try to have a wetter snow for a base and then as we progress throughout the year. We try to get that snow a little bit drier because it is more enjoyable to ski in," Sandmeyer said.
One of the biggest edges that Mount Kato has is that they are spread out between 65 acres so it makes social distancing not as difficult.
While their slopes won’t be taking too big of a hit, that is the exact opposite for their chalet.
“We’re at 50% capacity at the chalet, we’ve got other restrictions there. On busy days, I am a little concerned about what we’re going to be doing there because we will have a lot of people out here, but many of them will be able to go inside at once," Nelson said.
Not only do the people who come out to the ski area love the winter activity, but the staff loves it just as much.
“Just the speed, I like going down the hill and you just kind of get that wind blowing at you and then once you get that wind blowing at you, it’s just an amazing feeling," Sandmeyer said.