On Sunday, [R216R, Loon Mountain] officially kicked off the 2011/2012 ski season for New Hampshire. The mountain opened its 45th winter season with five trails, 22 acres and two miles of intermediate and advanced level terrain on the upper mountain with downloading on the gondola.

Trails open include Upper Bear Claw, Bear Claw Extension, Grand Junction, Link and Upper Picked Rock, and more terrain is expected to open this week. The Mountainside Rental Shop is open for equipment rentals.

Early-season lift ticket rates will be in effect on Monday, Nov. 21.

Rates: $49 for adults (19-64), $39 for teens (13-18), $29 for juniors (6-12) and seniors (65+), children under five and seniors 80+ ski free. 

The opening comes nearly a week ahead of schedule thanks to huge investments in their snowmaking equipment in the last few years (over 700 new snowguns), and of course, the round-the-clock efforts of their snowmaking team. For Thanksgiving, Loon anticipates offering top-to-bottom terrain with at least 10 trails.

The temporary bridge, which will provide access to the resort from Route 112/The Kancamagus Highway, is expected to open this Wednesday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The bridge will remain in place throughout the 2011/2012 winter season. In the meantime, there is alternate access available via the South Peak Bridge, located two miles to the west in the town of Lincoln.

For more information, visit loonmtn.com.