Quebec's Stoneham Mountain Resort is making a permanent halfpipe to reduce the cost of snowmaking and enable earlier opening.

Workers have begun drilling and blasting the hill in order to create a natural, 8-foot-deep bowl in the rock to support a 22-foot-high superpipe and establish a slope of 18.5 degrees. The resort expects the $700,000 project will cut snowmaking time and cost by 40 percent. Work includes the installation of three new snowguns and a permanent lighting system.

Last year, the super structure required more than 250 hours of snowmaking (33,000 cubic meters of snow) and more than 100 hours of sculpting and grooming. The resort will cut back 40 percent on snowmaking, saving time and money, with the newly shaped mountainside.  The halfpipe is set to open Jan. 3. Follow developments on Stoneham's Web cam.

The halfpipe will be open every day and night.  A series of events, competitions, and parties will take place in the snow park this season, in addition to the Snowboard World Cup event, to be held Feb. 18-22. 

Stoneham plans to open Nov. 28.

The area has 1,380 feet (420 meters) of vertical, off a summit elevation of 2,075 feet (632 meters), with 32 trails and four terrain parks on 326 acres spread over four mountains. Night skiing is available  The area has eight lifts: a high-speed detachable bubble quad, two fixed-grip quads, a double, and four surface lifts.