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November 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

B.C.’s Whistler ski area opening Saturday

A skier blasts down a powdery slope in a past season at Whistler Blackcomb. (photo by Paul Morrison)

A skier blasts down a powdery slope in a past season at Whistler Blackcomb. (photo by Paul Morrison)

The Whistler Mountain half of British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb ski resort will open this Saturday, Nov. 16, the resort announced Tuesday. The opening comes 13 days earlier than originally planned, thanks to cold temperatures, natural snowfall and productive snowmaking equipment, resort officials said.

British Columbia’s Big White ski resort, near Kelowna, has also announced a Saturday opening.

With five lifts running at Whistler, skiers and snowboarders will have the option to upload from either the Whistler Village Gondola or the Creekside Gondola. Blackcomb Mountain is still expected to open as scheduled on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

“Early season snowfall combined with our snowmaking team converting over 60 million gallons of water into snow the past few weeks, has allowed us to get things started early again this season,”  Doug MacFarlane, mountain manager at Whistler Blackcomb, said in an email. “With all the excitement of opening day, we want to remind guests early season conditions will apply, especially off piste. It is important to obey mountain signage, ski and ride on open runs only and stay within the operational area marked by ‘Temporary Boundary’ signage. Guests should be aware there will be rocks and other hazards below the snow surface; we do not recommend skiing and riding outside the temporary boundary in any circumstances.”

First upload on the Whistler Village Gondola and Creekside Gondola will begin at 8:30 a.m., with last upload at 2:30 p.m Saturday. Emerald Express, Big Red Express and the Franz chairlifts will be running, allowing access to 1,800 vertical feet of skiing and riding terrain. Runs set to open will include Ego Bowl, Upper Whiskey Jack, Upper Franz, Papoose, Orange Peel and Pony Trail.

More details at www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

Watch seattletimes.com/traveloutdoors later this week, and the NWTraveler print edition on Sunday, for a roundup on off-slope recreation, dining and other fun at Whistler, along with other coverage spotlighting snow sports for this winter.

0 Comments | More in Outdoors, snow sports | Topics: B.C. skiing, Whistler, whistler opening

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