Snowfall bringing needed foot traffic to Five Pines

NOW: Snowfall bringing needed foot traffic to Five Pines

BERRIEN CENTER, Mich. -- Tuesday’s snowfall in Berrien County was a relief for some businesses that are making their revenue from outdoor activities.

At Five Pines Ministries in Berrien Center, they hadn’t even been able to open their tubing hill to the public until Christmas Day because of the lack of snow.

“We had a good snow on Christmas and the temperatures have been just enough that we’re able to keep enough of our snow,” said Nate Parsons, Executive Director at Five Pines Ministries.

While Five Pines hosts camps year round and most of their activity comes from church or school groups in the summer, hosting sledding and skiing in the winter is a big source of revenue that keeps them going.

And with all of the COVID-19 restrictions impacting their camp participation, down 30 percent this summer, bringing in the winter business is especially needed this year.

But, for an operation that relies on snow, the lack of it has hurt.

“We are able to make snow but we haven’t this year because you have to have pretty cold temperatures and our equipment isn’t as great as the big ski resorts,” said Parsons.

So, Five Pines getting creative in building their sledding hill, so they can keep renting it out to visitors.

“We’ve had enough snow to make snow banks, so we’ve moved snow to the hill and been able to stay open since Christmas,” said Parsons. “We will continue to move snow to the hill, make it when we can and try and keep the hills open as long as we can, we have a good base right now and we’re ready to go.”

Five Pines offers public sledding hours on Saturdays and Sundays and asks that visitors call ahead on weekdays, as well as if they’d like to do cross country skiing.

Hours and rates can be found here.

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