West Coast ski resorts open early with fresh powder, early bird savings

KELONA, B.C. — After another 30cm of fresh powder over the weekend, Big White Ski Resort is excited to announce that it will open early for the 2015 / 2016 ski season. The resort will start spinning lifts at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, November 13, nearly two weeks earlier than originally expected. This date marks the earliest the resort has opened since the 2001/2002 season.

With a cumulative snowfall of 87cm to date this season, Big White is currently one of the top resorts for snowfall in British Columbia and Alberta, according to a recent report from SnowSeekers.

“Our on mountain team works so hard at this time of year to make sure that seasons pass holders and visitors get on the snow as soon as Mother Nature allows,” says Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice-president of Big White Ski Resort Ltd. “It’s always been the family’s policy to open a lift as soon as snow permits and it’s safe to do so, and that’s what we’ve done again this year.”

Skiers and snowboarders visiting the resort will be able to purchase lift tickets at 50% off their regular retail price until the resort opens more chairlifts and terrain. With the slopes opening on November 13, now is the time to book rooms starting at $137, Stay and Ski Free promo, or Buy 5 get 7 nights of accommodation.

Elsewhere on the West Coats, at least three ski resorts in California have opened early and several more will open this week as fresh powder blanketed parts of the Sierra on Monday following a winter-like storm.

Boreal Mountain Resort was the first ski resort in Northern California to open for the season when lifts started running last Friday, while Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California will kick off the ski season six days earlier than initially planned.  Both Lake Tahoe ski resorts open Saturday.

“After a long summer of preparations, we’re more ready than we have ever been to kick off the winter season,” said Boreal Mountain Resort Vice-President Matt Peterson.

On Monday, a two-day wet system moving across California brought cool, wet weather to low-lying areas and snow to the mountains. The welcome moisture will not end the state’s four-year drought, but forecasters expect a strong El Nino winter to bring above-average precipitation to parts of the state.

California’s 27 resorts —and two in neighbouring Nevada — make up the nation’s second-most-popular destination for skiers and snowboarders after Colorado, said Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association.

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