[R438R, Sun Peaks], B.C., aims to be one of the first resorts open in British Columbia for the 2008-09 season. "We are very excited about the winter season," Melanie Simmons, Communications Coordinator for Tourism Sun Peaks told Onthesnow.com. "If the weather to this point is any indication, it will be a spectacular season."

The resort turned on its snowmaking guns Oct. 9 on the earliest date in the resort's history. Blowing snow in their Nancy Greene International Race Centre in October allows the resort to host the Austrian National Ski Team for training in early November.

Work over the summer improved the race centre. Crews raised the height of the starting area by two meters to improve speed out of the gate, and a large compression on the lower section of the course was removed.

Reliable early season snow, cold temperatures for snowmaking, and grass-covered slopes that are mowed low contribute to the resort's ability to open early. Sun Peaks opens seven days per week to the public Sunday, Nov. 23.

This year, skiers and riders can dive into the Lonesome Fir Glades off the Sundance Express Chair, where thinning and brushing this summer improved 70 acres of glade skiing. The work opened up 20 lines through the glades, from gentle pitches 20 feet wide to steep, tight chutes.