Want snow? Head to British Columbia. December has launched powder skiing across much of the province. As lifts started turning at BC ski resorts this past weekend, many boasted strong opening days with snow continuing to drop.
This past week, Whistler Blackcomb saw heavy snow accumulation at the Pig Alley Weather Station. While this November wasn’t a record-breaker like last year, snowfall has delivered above average conditions and plenty of powder days. The resort currently has 14 lifts in operation, plus the Peak2Peak Gondola.
Whistler heli-skiing also started up its 32nd season this weekend. Their new Ultimate Whistler Experience Package is designed for those who want to heli-ski powder for the first time.
Even before opening day, Revelstoke Mountain Resort garnered more than 300 centimeters (118 inches) of snowfall. Bare ground at the bottom of the Revelation Gondola on opening day belied what hid on the upper mountain — the advantage of more than 5,000 feet of vertical. The intermediate and advanced terrain on the upper mountain opened with The Stoke and Ripper chairs running and hoots of joy coming from the trees.
Skiing the lower gondola slopes will be added as conditions permit. Heli-skiing with Selkirk Tangiers starts Dec. 9, and you can do a single day of heli Dec. 15-24, 2012 or Jan. 1-7, 2013 and add on complimentary lodging at the Coast Hillcrest Hotel. Cat skiing is scheduled to start Dec. 15, but may bump earlier to this coming weekend, pending conditions.
Check out what opening day looked like at Revelstoke:
Sister resorts Big White and Silver Star staged phased openings with skiers and riders getting treated to powder. Both resorts ran a couple lifts for opening day last Thursday, Nov. 29, and then added more lifts for the weekend. By the end of the weekend, Big White ran five lifts, including Ridge Rocket, Plaza, Lara’s Gondola, Black Forest, and Bullet chairs. Silver Star operated Comet, Silver Queen, Alpine Meadows, and the Discovery Park Carpet.
Here’s opening day at Silver Star:
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort opened for an early season sneak peek weekend Dec. 1 and 2 with most of the upper mountain skiable. Areas included Bowl Over, Crystal Bowl, CPR Ridge North and South, and Redemption Ridge South. The resort plans to re-open Dec. 8 to begin daily operations.
Closer to the U.S. border, warm and wet conditions prevailed. Ski areas that opened ran only a couple lifts and offered skiing and riding on limited terrain.
Apex Mountain Resort started up daily operations on the T-bar with two intermediate runs and the Magic Carpet for beginners. Race training continued on Okanagan Run while the public rode Old Mill. A handful of rails were installed on Old Mill, too.
Fernie Alpine Resort launched its opening with Elk, Bear Express, Boomerang, and the Haul Back T-Bar running. Skiers and riders warmed up for the season on nine runs. The resort plans to add more lifts and runs as conditions permit.
Eagle, Easy Rider, and Lions Express have been turning at Cypress Mountain. Snow started accumulating on Sunday, so the resort hopes to open more terrain this coming week. The Skate Park on upper Maelle Ricker's Run includes around 10 features, and the Patio Park opens with the Airbag when visibility permits.
Grouse Mountain is in full swing with its Peak of Christmas. The event that runs Nov. 24 through Dec. 24 brings on ice skating, sleigh rides, a gingerbread village, Santa’s Workshop, visiting live reindeer, music, ranger talks, and carolers. The daily ski season has also started up with two lifts, four runs, and the Paradise Jib Park currently open.
Hudson Bay Mountain started up its season with five lifts — Prairie, Panorama, Little Rascal, and Skyline Chairs — in operation this past weekend. The ski area is scheduled to run Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 20 when it begins daily operations for the holidays. In February and March, the ski area will open Wednesdays through Sundays.
To see the BC snow reports, go here.