SNOW, COLD BOOST RESORT OPENINGS
SAM Magazine—Vail, Colo., Nov. 16, 2012—Snowfall and snowmaking temperatures have spread across the country in the past week, enabling several more areas to open for the season.
Last Sunday, Nov. 11, Mountain High, Calif., joined the growing ranks. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Brighton, Utah, followed, with several areas opening on Nov. 14: Winter Park, Colo., Solitude, Utah, along with Heavenly and Northstar, Calif. All were aided by a storm that dropped more than three feet in some locations.
Heavenly and Northstar had originally planned to open on Nov. 16. They offered seven lifts and eight trails between them, on 55 acres of terrain. Heavenly will add another 20 acres over the weekend, weather permitting. Along with Kirkwood, which opens today, Nov. 16, the Vail Resorts resorts will have nine lifts, 14 trails, and 111 acres of terrain.
Several other resorts start turning the lifts today. Biggest among them is Vail, which will inaugurate its 50th season with the unveiling of its new Lift #1, a state-of-the-art 10-passenger gondola from the base of Vail Village. Complimentary commemorative pins, cocoa and cookies help mark the event. That’s just for foot traffic, though; the day’s skiing will open in Lionshead.
Loon, N.H., also starts up today, after several night of snowmaking weather. The area added 42 low-e guns this summer, adding to the 600 it installed a year ago; the upgrades make it possible to open quickly once temperatures cooperate. The area has skiing and riding on one route from the gondola summit to mid mountain. The gondola and the East Basin chair will offer lift service from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with downloading on the gondola.
Finally, several areas are opening tomorrow, Nov. 17. Among them: Sugar Bowl, Calf., Park City, Utah, and both Whistler and Sun Peaks, B.C., where both ample snowfall and snowmaking temperatures have aided efforts to open.
Park City is celebrating the season in several ways. First, it’s serving free donuts, coffee and hot chocolate in the morning. The first chairs to depart each of the three operating lifts will break a commemorative banner celebrating the season, and the passengers will receive limited edition “First Chair 2012-2013” t-shirts. The Northern Ute tribe will perform a traditional snow blessing at noon, and the area hosts an après concert by local Park City band, Muddpuddle.
If that doesn’t get the season off to a flying start, nothing will.