Metre of natural snow assures good opening Saturday 

Blackcomb expects to have seven lifts in operation

Mother Nature lent a helping hand to snowmaking operations this week, delivering some excellent early season conditions to Blackcomb Mountain just in time for the official opening on Saturday.

Since Friday, Nov. 14, storms have brought more than a metre of fresh snow to the mountains and more than 25 centimetres to the village at press time Wednesday, Nov. 19, with more in the forecast for the coming week.

Also at press time, Blackcomb was expecting to be able to open the Wizard Express, Solar Coaster, Excelerator, Catskinner and Jersey Cream chairs. The Excalibur Gondola will be open for the weekend, and the Magic Chair will also be operating for beginners.

Most green and blue runs accessible by those lifts will be open, including Gandy Dancer, Cruiser, Zig Zag, Honeycomb, Buzz Cut, Wishbone, Cougar Milk and Catskinner. The terrain park will be open with rail features, and a small halfpipe will be ready to ride.

The list of open runs and chairs is subject to change, with more snow in the forecast for the weekend.

Whistler Mountain will open for the season on Nov. 27.

The first skier up the lift this year, with a head start of 100 chairs, will be the winner of the Whistler-Blackcomb Freeze Factor, where contestants stand out side in their gear for 24 hours while trying to win a season’s pass. The challenge starts at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 and runs until the official opening at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

In the 24 hours, the challengers will have to remain buckled into their equipment, following different rules. They will be allowed to take the odd washroom break, and will be pulled aside for various Freeze Factor challenges.

For people who aren’t in the running for the pass, a Freeze Factor party is being held at Merlin’s to watch the competitors face different challenges, with opportunities for spectators to face a few challenges of their own.

For more information on opening day or Freeze Factor, visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

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