ALGONQUIN – Despite temperatures expected to be well into the 50s, the Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park will be open for business this weekend.
The ski park, 19-265 Western Ave., Algonquin, opened for its 21st season Thursday night.
"We had about 200 guests," said owner Keith Duck. "We had a good opening. We were able to make snow leading up to the event. Fifty percent of the snow was made in one night when it got real cold."
He said enough snow was made to allow the park to remain open "straight through the middle of next week" when temperatures are expected to get colder.
New this year is the Burton Riglet Park, designed for skiers 10 and under. Duck said it is the first park of its kind in the Midwest. Near Riglet Park is a modular classroom building that serves as the park's new Birthday Party Room.
The park provides lessons for all ages and skill levels, taught by coaches certified in different tiers. Competitions will be held at the park later this winter.
"When we opened 21 years ago, we were the only snowboard-exclusive area in the Midwest," Duck said. "Ski resorts didn't embrace snowboarding.
"Then they started building terrain parks, and copied what we were doing," he said.
Raging Buffalo opened to skiers eight years ago. "Skiers vs. snowboard segregation has dissolved over time," Duck said. "Skiers and snowboarders are playing nice in the sandbox together."
Improvements at the lodge this year include a new floor made out of recycled tires, and a new women's restroom.
"They're nice improvements to the lodge," Duck said.
Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.ragingbuffalo.com.