Anxious ski fiends, ski bunnies and boarder buddies: The “open” sign goes up at one of the region’s most popular mountain resorts this Saturday, Nov. 22.
Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.’s mega-resort four hours north of Seattle, is firing up lifts five days ahead of its scheduled Thanksgiving Day opening. Natural snowfall at higher elevations was followed by a recent streak of below-average temperatures, providing prime conditions for snow-making machines.
“Our snow-making team has been working hard to take advantage of this early season cold snap in Whistler and has converted over 60 million gallons of water into snow over the past few weeks,” Doug MacFarlane, director of mountain operations, said in a written release.
Five lifts will begin running on Whistler Mountain on Saturday. Skiers and boarders will have the option to upload from either the base of Whistler Mountain via the Whistler Village Gondola, featuring brand new cabins, or the Creekside base via the Creekside Gondola. Blackcomb Mountain will open, as scheduled, on Nov. 27. More details here.
Cypress Mountain, on the outskirts of Vancouver, B.C., is already partially open — among the first in the region — thanks to lots of snow-making in the recent cold days and nights. (You might recall Cypress as headquarters for snowboarding in the 2010 Olympics. See a Seattle Times story here.)
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: In Washington, snow-making machines are enabling Wenatchee’s hometown ski area, Mission Ridge, to open Saturday, with operations on Chair 1 only, with lift tickets priced $10-$20. Details here.
Washington’s traditional early opener, Mount Baker Ski Area, is still waiting for snow. This message was posted on the ski area’s website Monday: “By Friday, we should see some clouds roll in with snowfall at around 4,000 feet or perhaps a little lower. So hopefully we will get some base-building snow at the ski area. This should continue through the weekend, then forecasts are calling for a major change in the weather patterns next week. Some major storms are expected to move in, with the Jet Stream parked right over the top of us! Next week is looking very promising for a great hit of snow, so get ready to cross those fingers for stormy weather!”
Crystal Mountain‘s website reported zero inches at the base Tuesday, with sunshine and 46 degrees. Webcams showed spotty light snow around lift loading areas.
Click here for a preview of this winter’s lift prices at Whistler and other areas, plus a roundup of stories about this season’s snow sports all over the region.