More Areas Open Despite Warm Weather

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SAM Magazine--Denver, Colo., Nov. 19, 2004--Despite warm and/or dry conditions across much of the U.S. for the past week, more resorts are opening this weekend, ahead of the Thanksgiving onslaught. Here's a roundup of the upcoming action.

Today, Vail joins several other Colorado areas that opened previously. Skiing and riding are underway off the Born Free Express, and snowsliders will inaugurate Vail's new $3 million skier bridge that connects the slopes with the Lionshead base. Snow depths on the Born Free trail average 15 inches. Tomorrow, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte swing into action. At the Butte, new snowmaking capabilities, which have been operating since early November, will provide corduroy cruising on three trails off the Red Lady Express.

California's Heavenly opened today, with more terrain than usual, thanks to record-breaking snowfall during October. With four feet of snow in October and 170 hours of snowmaking since then, the area offers skiing and riding on the upper California and upper Nevada sides of the mountain. Northstar-at-Tahoe opens tomorrow, with five lifts, including the gondola. The resort's terrain park is included in the available terrain.

In the East, Sugarloaf/USA began welcoming skiers and riders today, with some of the best opening day conditions in recent history. Cold temperatures and nearly a foot of natural snow at higher elevations have created mid-season conditions on several trails. Whiteface, N.Y., is opening on Saturday, November 20, with intermediate skiing and riding on four trails served by the Cloudsplitter Gondola. Average snow depth ranges from 8 to 22 inches. New Hampshire areas Loon and Waterville Valley are also hoping to open for the weekend.

In the upper Midwest, Lutsen begins weekend operations tomorrow. Regular daily operations begin Dec. 10.

In Canada, Blackcomb Mountain will open ahead of schedule, on Saturday, November 20. Up to 10 inches of snow has fallen in the past 48 hours, with more on the way. That, coupled with Blackcomb's snowmaking operations, will allow the area to operate two upper mountain chairs, with at least six run open, and with eight rails available. In Quebec, Stoneham is opening for the weekend, then begins daily operations Nov. 26. The area will have three lifts, four trails, and six rails in its terrain park open. \