While some of us grumble and freeze our way through winter, others rejoice at the sub-freezing temperatures and the sight of white stuff falling from the sky.

Those Arctic air lovers living among us have good reason to rejoice when winter is at its worst.

There are five public ski resorts in Ohio and Summit County is home to two of them.

So each day, a string of cars, SUVs and bus after bus of school kids snakes along narrow roads in the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to kick up some powder at Boston Mills and Brandywine.

The resorts have been around since the 1960s, and had combined ownership in the ’90s. The Peak Resorts chain purchased the two ski havens in 2002. The company operates some 14 ski resorts scattered primarily in the Northeast and Midwest and owns 13 of them.

In Ohio, the company also owns Mad River Mountain in Zanesville, between Columbus and Dayton, and Alpine Valley in the heart of the snowbelt in Geauga County.

Mother Nature has been kind to Boston Mills and Brandywine so far this winter with pretty much continuous operations ever since the first Christmas tree went up. There’s been an ample amount of snow so far, and chilly enough temperatures overnight so they can make snow to ensure a nice surface for skiers.

And the brief breaks from the deep freeze so far have not been long enough to make a dent in the snow pack that at both resorts measures in the feet and not mere inches.

Being just a few miles apart, this means skiers and snowboarders who purchase a lift pass at one resort can hop in the car and head over to the other and use the same pass there.

If you purchase a day pass, you might even have enough time to head north and check out Alpine Valley, as long as your knees and perseverance hold out.

Lift passes for adults with no equipment rental range from as low as $38 for late night skiing to as high as $43 for an all-day pass.

So what makes the two Summit County resorts different?

Well that’s kind of like what makes Coke different than Pepsi.

Let’s face it: Snow is snow.

Boston Mills is tucked in the valley below the Interstate 271 and Ohio Turnpike bridges in Boston Township (at 7100 Riverview Road), and it is the older of the two sister resorts, having opened in 1963.

It features a chalet-style lodge and is open — conditions permitting — in the mornings during weekdays, with Brandywine opening later in the afternoon. Both resorts offer extended hours on the weekends.

Some consider Boston Mills a more challenging ski resort with steeper hills and two so-called mogul fields.

While both resorts welcome snowboarders, Brandywine is considered the preferred place to shred down the slope, and its shallower slopes are a bit more friendly for younger skiers.

Polar Blast

Brandywine, located off Vaughn Road in Boston Township (at 1146 W. Highland Road), also has a larger and more modern chalet with a large second-floor cafeteria and separate bar with ample windows for parents to watch the action on the slopes.

It is also home to the popular Polar Blast tube park that requires a separate lift ticket.

Combined, the two resorts offer 18 different trails ranging from super hard to easy with two beginner areas. There are four terrain parks featuring hills and obstacles that are not for faint of heart or brittle bones.

There are 16 total lifts, of which four are surface lifts, a conveyor surface lift, two double chair lifts, seven triple chair lifts, and two fixed quad lifts.

Austin Ricci is the chair whisperer at Boston Mills.

He’s the guy who makes sure everything is running and sounding like it should so everyone makes it to the top hill safely.

After that, well, it is up to the skier.

One day last week, he paused and ran over to help upright a young skier who failed to brake in time and ended up in a heap on the bottom of the hill at the edge of a small creek.

He’s been skiing since he was 3 years old and pretty much grew up spending the winters at both resorts.

As a teen growing up in Hudson, he abandoned his skis for a snowboard. Now that he’s older, he’s back to two separate skinny boards beneath his feet.

He’s spent the last 12 years working for the resorts.

He thinks each resort has its own personality — just like the various runs with names ranging from Grizzly to Pete’s Pride.

But once the bus loads of kids arrive, and they can number anywhere from 300 to 1,200 depending on the day of the week, and you throw in some of the more than 18,000 season pass-holders, Ricci said, each resort becomes a blur of skiers tackling the trails.

“I don’t have a favorite,” he said. “I just love to ski. Any hill I am on is my favorite.

“As long as I can slap the skis on, I am good.”

Craig Webb, who has not slapped on a pair of skis since his teen years, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3547.