The snow guns have been firing as weather permits across Northeast snow country, with some resorts already open - at least on weekends. Other resorts opened briefly after a sharp spell of cold and snow, then suspended operations as warmer, wetter weather moved into the region.

Sunday River won the race to be first by opening top to bottom Oct. 14 on expert terrain on Locke Mountain. The River's early season is for experts only, on weekends. Skiing and riding was free on opening day, and $25 thereafter.

Mount Snow opened a terrain park Oct. 17 to offer the earliest lift served skiing in its history. The Discovery Shuttle carried skiers and snowboarders to skiing and riding on Launch pad, where crews had set up a dozen terrain park features.

Mount Snow charged $10 or 10 non-perishable food items, which were donated to the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry.

Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, N.C., took advantage of a cold snap to blow snow in such quantities that the area hoped to open Oct. 19. Reality and a warm front set in, forcing postponement of the area's opening day.

No matter. Winter's on the way. Snow guns are starting to fire, as the Northeast's big pre-season ski and snowboard expos are firing up snow lovers' excitement.

More information: Sunday River; Mount Snow; Cataloochee.