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Whistler Mountain to open Nov. 17

Good base and snow in forecast created opportunity for early opening
GO TIME Whistler Mountain will open on Friday, Nov. 17. Photo courtesy of Whistler blackcomb

Whistler Mountain is opening Friday, Nov. 17, six days earlier than expected, thanks to strong snow conditions.

"We couldn't be more excited about opening Whistler Mountain early again this season," said Pete Sonntag, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Whistler Blackcomb, in a release.

"Our snowmaking and operations teams have been working extremely hard to get the mountain ready for guests.

"Their efforts, along with the natural snowfall we are expecting throughout the week, made our decision to open early easy."

Added Marc Riddell, senior manager of communications for Whistler Blackcomb: "When people show up Friday, it's going to be a heck of a day."

Five lifts will be in operation — the Whistler and Creekside gondolas, Big Red Express Chair, Emerald Express and Franz's Chair — over 243 hectares will be opened up for skiing over 20 runs.

It will be download-out only at this time, said Riddell, adding that there is a metre of snow at Pig Alley, the main weather monitoring station for Whistler Mountain. Snow has been falling steadily, with 46 centimetres of fresh pow in the last two days and another 50 cm expected by Friday, Nov. 17.

With the colder temperatures in the last few weeks the mountain was also able to "make snow like it was going out of style," said Riddell.

There is plenty of excitement around the opening, but safety officials are warning skiers and riders to enjoy the mountain with caution.

"With all the excitement of opening day, we want to remind guests early-season conditions will apply, especially off piste," said Doug MacFarlane, senior director of mountain operations.

"It is important to obey all mountain signage, ski and ride on open runs only and stay within the operational area marked by boundary signage."

Beginning Nov. 16, Whistler Blackcomb's snow report will be updated daily throughout the season and can be accessed online or by calling 604-932-4211 in Whistler, 604-687-7507 in Vancouver, or toll free at 1-800-766-0449.

Blackcomb will open on schedule on Nov. 23.

Sunday, Nov. 19 marks the final day to purchase a 2017-2018 Epic Pass, WB Unlimited Season Pass, 5- and 10-day Edge cards, the Sea to Sky Pass and Student Pass.

After Nov. 19, none of those passes will be available for the 2017-18 winter season. For those who miss the Nov. 19 deadline, WB will still be offering what it calls "Epic Day Passes," available in single or multi-days.

No price has been set for day passes yet.

The Epic Pass is listed at US$899 for adults and US$469 for children.

The WB Unlimited Season Pass is CDN$1,349 for adults and CDN$469 for children.

Five-day Edge cards start at CDN$419, and 10-day cards at CDN$719.