Earliest Opening in 40yrs at Blackcomb
Whistler (BC), Canada (Tuesday, November 1, 2005) - British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb resort has announced that Blackcomb Mountain will open its ski and snowboard season this Saturday, Nov. 5, much earlier than planned. In fact it's one of the earliest openings in the resort's 40-year history. Blackcomb Mountain will remain open through the weekend (Nov. 5 and 6) and plans are in place to open daily as of Friday, Nov. 11. Special opening weekend pricing will be in effect.
Whistler Blackcomb is anxious to shed negative images from one of the Northwest's most disappointing winters in memory last season. A series of Pacific frontal systems over the past weekend brought a total of 60 centimetres (24 inches) of snow to the mountains at the Rendezvous Lodge elevation located at 1,860m/6,102ft, and the forecast is calling for even more snow through the week, enabling the early opening.
"This is a major boost for early season conditions at Whistler Blackcomb," says Bob Dufour, Vice President of Mountain Operations for the resort. "The long range forecast over the coming weeks is for normal, or colder than normal temperatures plus normal or greater than normal precipitation. This is very good news for us."
The new snow, a stormy forecast over the next five days, and Whistler Blackcomb's snowmaking system are lining up to deliver the early season conditions. With anywhere from 25 to 40 centimetres (10 to 16 inches) forecasted to fall through Friday, indications for the early season are promising.
"Things are looking very winter-like on the mountains today," Mike Douglas, Whistler Blackcomb Pro Team member and long time Whistler resident, said last night. "Halloween night is typically one of the best nights in Whistler and I think tonight will be even more fun than usual as locals celebrate winter's return and this weekend's early opening."
Whistler Blackcomb crews have been working hard all summer preparing for this season to avoid some of last winter's pitfalls. Summer grooming and brush cutting on the runs will ensure that more runs can open with minimal snow. Increased investment into high-tech snowmaking infrastructure provides added assurance that snow coverage will be solid. "Many of our guns now turn on automatically when the temperature dips allowing us to take advantage of every snowmaking opportunity no matter what time of the day or night," says Dufour.
Hours of operation this weekend will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Uploading will take place from the Blackcomb base. The Wizard Express, Solar Coaster Express, Jersey Cream Express and Catskinner chairs are expected to open.
Elsewhere in the Northwest, Washington State's Crystal Mountain has received 20 inches of snow on its Green Valley terrain, and two groomers were parked at the summit yesterday waiting to get to work building a base. Crystal has begun to indicate the potential of an early opening, although no opening date has been set as of now.