Western Canadian skiers and snowboarders are hooting in glee this week as several Alberta and British Columbia resorts crank up their lifts. Those south of the U.S.-Canada border are also eyeing Canadian resorts as the U.S. dollar gains strength against the Canadian dollar, once again making Canadian resorts a less expensive destination for American visitors.

British Columbia's first resorts to open sit in the central part of the province. Silver Star, whose Nordic trails have been open since early in the month, started up their lifts Saturday, Nov. 22. The resort jacked up their summer slope pruning in their most extensive summer grooming project to date on more than 100 runs. Sun Peaks, located a little further north, opened also Nov. 22.

Several other B.C. resorts plan to open on Thanksgiving Day to accommodate the U.S. holidays. Big White, Whistler Blackcomb, and Revelstoke are all scheduled to crank up a couple of their lifts Thursday, Nov. 27. However, Whistler Blackcomb's new Peak 2 Peak lift won't open to the public until later in December. Apex Mountain Resort plans to run its lifts Nov. 28-30 and then reopen for daily operations on Dec. 6.

Several Alberta resorts commenced winter skiing and snowboarding operations by the middle of November. Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Marmot Basin began daily operations of their lifts in the high Canadian Rockies.

Ski hills in the province's big cities also opened, thanks to cold temperatures for snowmaking. Canada Olympic Park in Calgary opened its lifts mid-month, and Edmonton skiers already have three local skill hills running their lifts: Sunridge, Edmonton Ski Club, and Rabbit Hill. Mt. Norquay is open weekends only until Dec. 5.

Visit OnTheSnow.com's 2008 Holiday Guide for a library of news stories and features about special holiday events from visits by Santa (even his reindeer) to where the best parties are planned for New Year's Eve at the world's mountain resorts.