The venerable, though troubled, Magic Mountain ski area is selling season passes at discount through Oct. 5, when the price goes up. Adults pay $379, then $429; juniors 7-12 and seniors 70 and over pay $319, then $369.

College students pay $129; children 6 and under pay a $25 processing fee.

This decision to go forward with season pass sales answers a looming question among Magic's faithful followers: Would their area open this winter? The answer: Yes, Friday through Monday and after any storm of 6 inches or more that results in more than half the area's terrain open.

Magic, troubled by limited revenues over the last decade, decided to raise capital over the summer by offering to sell 300 shares in the resort to the public at $3,000 each. Magic President Jim Sullivan said the money raised by the sale would be used for badly needed maintenance of lifts and other facilities. The effort fell short of its goal, and has resulted in the sale of 100 shares to date, Sullivan said in a letter and e-mail widely distributed to skiers and snowboarders.

"It is decision time with respect to the 2009-10 ski season.  As you are all aware we launched the share sales in July with the goal of attaining 300 shares sold in order to establish The Magic Partnership and implement a new era of ownership at Magic.  At this juncture we are only approximately one-third of the way to that goal, and therefore cannot move forward with the plan at this time," Sullivan said.

He the short time-frame for the sale, the lousy economy, and the likelihood that people are not thinking about winter as reasons for the lower-than-expected sales.

"Given these and other factors, the share sale effort will continue throughout the fall and winter, as I believe that the current level of support can and will be enhanced if given time to mature.  The question which many of you have posed and with which I have struggled for the past several days is what is to become of Magic this season.  After fastidiously crunching numbers and considering the negative effects of closure of the mountain, I have decided to open this season," Sullivan said.

"However, I should quickly add that this decision is contingent upon financial support by way of early season pass sales, as that will be the primary source of revenue on which our ability to open will be based," he said. 

More information. Or call 802-824-5645.