Wild Mountain Ski Resort in Taylors Falls, Minnesota, is already open for business, claiming to be the first in the Midwest this year. A check of Iowa ski areas finds none open here yet. While it’s cold, Gene Gordon, president of Sundown Mountain in Dubuque, says still-colder weather is needed. Sundown uses 150 snow-guns to manufacture the flakes when Mother Nature doesn’t oblige. To do that efficiently, Gordon says it has to be 15-to-20 degrees, or colder. It’s technically only the middle of fall by the calendar, but Gordon says it’s not too early to be thinking about winter sports. The first day of winter is December 22nd and Gordon says there have been “trying years,” where they’ve had to wait that long — and longer — before opening the runs to skiers. Gordon says he’s used to being in a business that demands flexibility. Gordon says “We’re rather like the farmers. We have to take what we can get and make the best of it.” He expects to be open within a week or two for the season that usually runs through mid-March. To encourage early-season skiiers, Gordon says Sundown plans to offer free skiing from whenever they open through December 7th. For details, consult “www.sundownmtn.com”.