Callaghan Country X-C trails open Saturday 

At press time there was about two and a half metres of snow at the Callaghan Country Lodge, more than a metre at the lake and it was still coming down in the valley.

"I was absolutely shocked," said Brad Sills, owner and operator of Callaghan Country. "It took six hours to get from the lake to the lodge in a snowcat, but we did some track packing from Callaghan Lake down and we're hoping to have that ready for this weekend for a soft opening."

The Mainline trail to the lake is approximately 9 km, and skiers should be able to leave from the parking area providing there are no significant rain events before the weekend. Conditions are on the rough side for the first kilometre, but above that there is a lot of soft snow for skating and classic skiers.

Through an agreement with the Vancouver Organizing Committee, groomers from Whistler Olympic Park will handle the grooming at Callaghan Country this season. Part of the reason is that athletes will use the trails before and during the Winter Games, and part has to do with the fact that the competition trails in the park are closed for site preparation.

Sills said Tuesday he had been getting phone calls all day long from skiers who want to know if the trails are open or suitable for skiing, and he's already encountering a few hardcore skiers on the trails.

He said it's early to have this much snow in the area, and warns that the snow hasn't settled yet. Classic skiers might not notice that much but skaters will have to work a little harder on the packed powder.

The prices are not set at this point, but Sills says early season pricing will be in effect for the start of the season.

The official opening on Nov. 21 will go as planned with a group ski-in to the Callaghan Lodge and a free barbecue. That's also the official opening day for Whistler Olympic Park, which will have more than 30 km of legacy trails open to the public for much of the season in addition to the 42 km of trails offered by Callaghan Country and 30 km of trails in Lost Lake.

A tri-area pass is available once again this season that will allow access to trails at all three venues, with early bird pricing in effect until Dec. 5. The passes cost $325 for adults, going up to $400 on Dec. 6. The passes are available at Meadow Park, and will be available at both Callaghan Country and Whistler Olympic Park.



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