A tale of two seasons … in one week
If you’re into the outdoors, but can’t decide between winter sports and summer fun, don’t worry. In the Black Hills at this time of year, you can do both.
“We actually had some members who golfed on Wednesday and skied on Thursday,” said Rob Kortan, head professional at the Spearfish Canyon Country Club. The scenic 18-hole golf course, at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon, operates pretty much year around, he said.
Meanwhile at Terry Peak on Friday, skiers and snowboarders were swarming down the Stewart Slope in the bright sunshine. (Check out the webcams.)
As the crow flies, Spearfish Canyon Country Club is really not all that far from the Stewart Lodge at Terry Peak Ski Area. It’s all about altitude. Terry Peak, the second-highest point in the Black Hills, stands at 7,044 feet above sea level. Spearfish is at 3,648 feet. That 3,400-foot difference makes a huge difference when it comes to temperature, snowfall and recreation choices.
On top of that, climate and weather patterns tend to favor the Black Hills’ towns and cities along the foothills in winter. That’s why we call it the Banana Belt. Hot Springs enjoys an average January high temperature of nearly 38 degrees — that’s its coldest month.
And March 2012 has been warmer than usual in the Black Hills. On Friday afternoon, the temperature in Spearfish was about 74 degrees.
Terry Peak Ski Area officials are optimistic they can keep the slopes open until April 1, but with the last reported snowfall there March 4 it could be a challenge. We’ve had great snowfall in April, May and occasionally in June.
You know the old saying: If you don’t like the weather in the Black Hills, wait a minute.