Terry Peak Ski Area had hoped to open their slopes Friday.
But recent warm days melted what little snow was on the mountain and delayed the start of the season.
Now winter sports enthusiasts and businesses that depend on them are itching to get enough powder down to start the season.
"A good base is about 24 inches good coverage," said Timmy Leppert, snow surfaces manager at Terry Peak.
Sixteen inches will work in a pinch, a goal Leppert said should be no problem.
"By Wednesday we'll have a consistency of up to 24 inches," he said.
That's on Stewart Slope, the beginner slope.
"Hopefully we'll be doing more."
But with recent 60-degree days, that hill might be the only one open by the new target date of December 1.
Stewart is covered in big hills of freshly-made powder, called whales of snow, and as long as it doesn't get too warm, they're a great sign of things to come.
But it's a sign that doesn't translate quite as well to surrounding areas.
"When we get the substantial snowfall is when things are going to start to really move around here," said Bobby Rock, general manager of the Days Inn in Lead.
He's finally starting to see the beginning of the season with a few inches of natural snow Wednesday night, but it's not widespread enough to draw people in.
"The mindset of people down the hill, in the Rapid area, in the metro areas when it's 55, 60 degrees, warm wind," he said, "people out riding the bike paths and everything - they're not thinking winter activities."
That's a problem for businesses that rely heavily on those activities.
"We're depending on that snowfall," said Rock.
Another problem: The sun had already evaporated a lot of the snow not far down the road from Lead by mid-afternoon on Friday.
"Pray for snow," Leppert said.
"That's the most important thing right now," echoed Rock. "Think snow."
Rock is also looking forward to the start of snowmobile season on December 15.
He's starting to rent machines directly from the hotel this year, and with a trail directly across the street, he hopes to bring more business through his doors and through the Black Hills.