Lake Louise Ski Area is the first ski resort to open in Canada, thanks in part to a drippy summer that left the resort with an unlimited supply of water for snowmaking. The resort has been stockpiling snow to open Friday, Nov. 5.

Lake Louise draws its snowmaking water from the Pipestone River, which usually runs low at this time of year and limits the amount of water available to the resort. A wet summer, however, means the river is brimming, Lake Louise spokesman John Ross told OnTheSnow.

"That caused the water flow to be tremendous this year out of the Pipestone River," he said. The result is an unlimited supply to be funneled into Lake Louise's snowmaking system.

The resort has been stockpiling machine-made snow in shaded areas in the trees to push onto one run for opening day. Only one run, Wiwaxy, will be open Friday, but it's a long one with 1,450 feet of vertical terrain. Daytime highs above freezing this week have prevented round-the-clock snowmaking, but those anxious to see the run shape up can watch the progress with grooming machines Thursday, Nov. 4, via the resort's base area Web cam.

The Glacier Express Quad Chair will operate starting at 9 a.m. Friday for skiing and snowboarding on Wiwaxy Run, a green run that goes from mid-mountain to the base area. The Lodge of Ten Peaks will be open. Other services to operate include the ski school, rental and repair shop, retail shop, and processing centers for season passes and the Louise Plus Card.

Resort officials are advocating slow skiing and riding, since all visitors including beginners will be using the one run. "This is not the time or place to see who can ski the fastest," the resort advised in a statement. "There will be lots of ability levels on this run, and we will not tolerate reckless and dangerous speeds. Please, slow it down, ski under control, and let everyone enjoy their experience."

Reduced lift ticket rates will be in effect until the resort cranks up more lifts and opens more terrain. Lift tickets currently will cost $38 CAN for adults, $26.95 CAN for youths and seniors, and $12.50 CAN for children. Louise Plus Card holders do not have to use their first day free. Those who want to save the first free day for a time when tickets are full price can buy a ticket instead for $30 CAN for adults and $20 CAN for youths and seniors.

The resort, which fired up snowmaking guns more than two weeks ago, has incentive to get lifts up and running early in preparation for the WinterStart World Cup Downhill. "We've never lost a race," said Ross. The men's competition takes place Nov. 27-28 and women's races Dec. 3-5.

Natural snow blankets the upper peaks around Lake Louise, but not enough to open runs for skiing yet. "We'll be opening another lift every week regardless of natural snowfall," said Ross. "We're going up the mountain to get ready for the World Cup and week by week opening more." Lift ticket rates will increase commensurate with more lifts and terrain available. The resort will be open daily for the duration of the season.

Those traveling to Lake Louise will find two lanes each direction between Castle Mountain and the resort opening some time in November. "The construction is 99.9 percent finished," said Ross. "It's still single lane both ways, but the lines are painted and cosmetics are going in right now." The twinning of the highway, which will have its official grand opening Nov. 25 right before the World Cup, is expected to provide a safer and faster drive for skiers.

http://www.skilouise.com/conditions/snow-report.php" target="_blank">More information. Or call 403-244-6665.