Area Openings Continue to Snowball

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SAM Magazine--Dillon, Colo., Nov. 12, 2004--Resort openings are beginning to grow at an exponential rate as more areas across the country will join the ranks of the operating by tomorrow.

Keystone opened today with 36 hours of continuous skiing and riding, thanks to its lighted slopes. This is the first time Keystone will launch with an all-night party, which should be well attended thanks to recent snows. Sister area Breckenridge also opened today; both areas are providing top to bottom sliding and have opened at least some of their terrain parks as well.

In Utah, where a series of storms has left up to 10 feet of snow since early October, Solitude opens today, and Snowbird, which opened several lifts last weekend, begins continuous operation. Brighton was first to open in the state, on Oct. 29, followed by Powder Mountain Nov. 2. Brian Head expects to open tomorrow.

In the Tahoe area, where several resorts opened in late October, Mt. Rose has joined the crowd. The area opened yesterday with a 10- to 28-inch base. About 2,000 skiers and riders showed up, mostly season's passholders--enough to create liftlines on the area's three open lifts. Some Tahoe areas are open on weekends only, such as Alpine Meadows, which first cranked up the lifts Oct. 30, and will begin full-time operation by Thanksgiving.

Areas in the East are also opening. Killington was first on Nov. 9, followed a day later by Bretton Woods, N.H., and Sunday River, Me., and Mont Saint-Sauveur in Quebec. Today, Okemo became the second Vermont area to open, with top to bottom skiing and riding on eight trails served by four lifts. Jiminy Peak, Mass., and Hunter and Belleayre, N.Y., plan to open Nov. 13. Jiminy will have eight trails and two lifts for top to bottom sliding; Hunter also plans to open its full 1,500 vertical, a week ahead of schedule, with terrain for intermediate and advanced abilities.

Last but not least, skiers and snowboarders are heading for the hills in the Midwest, too. First to open was Ski Brule in Michigan, which began operation Tuesday. Brule has two trails and two lifts running, and offered free skiing through today. It will close for Nov.15-18, then reopen for the season Nov. 19. Wild Mountain, Minn., began continuous operations on Nov. 11 on its beginner slope, served by a rope tow. It added an intermediate run and a chair lift today. \