Late October saw snows roll into Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta. But unseasonably warm weather forced Sunshine to bump back its targeted opening and hampered snowmaking at Marmot.

[R448R, Sunshine Village], due to its high elevation, relies solely on natural snow to open the resort. "We've had four days of pretty heavy snow. It's beautiful. The mountains are all covered in snow and looking like paradise," Doug Firby, spokesperson for Sunshine, told "That's excellent early season conditions. Just what we want."

Sunshine opened Friday, Nov. 14, with 30 runs ready to ski. A nearly two-foot base allowed the resort to open its gondola, Wawa, Standish, and Strawberry lifts, plus two magic carpets.  

[R229R, Marmot Basin] opened the following day, with one long run. "Things are shaping up quite nicely," Brian Rode, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, told with optimism in late October when inches of natural snow collected around Marmot. Warm temperatures, however, hindered snowmaking on the mountain's lower slopes.

Marmot's $1.8 million improved snowmaking system installed two falls ago helps provide a base on the high traffic slopes below mid-mountain. “It has been an unseasonably warm fall and snowmaking efforts have been hampered at most resorts," Rode added in a press release.

Marmot opened Nov. 15 with the Eagle Express high-speed quad cranking into action. Skiers and riders were able to enjoy Tranquilizer, a 1,000-foot-vertical intermediate run. “We are very excited to be able to open so early in the season for skiers and riders," said Rode, who expects more runs to open up soon.