By Mabell, Dave on November 19, 2019.
They’re not waiting for winter.
After commissioning their new snowmaking system, crews at the Castle Mountain Ski Resort are getting ready to open their runs on Dec. 7.
But the Pass Powder Keg ski hill was the first to welcome visitors this year, with opening day festivities on Nov. 16.
At Castle, the snow guns were a key part of more than $2 million invested in upgrades this summer. The southern Alberta resort’s improvements followed construction of a water pipeline to Castle, which will also serve its visitor facilities.
Operators of the Powder Keg hill in Crowsnest Pass report two of their three lifts are open, though just two of 27 trails were available on opening day. Their hours run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Farther away, the Fernie Resort is preparing for a tentative opening on Nov. 30. It’s reporting a base of 25 centimetres of snow so far, after receiving 91 cm since early fall.
In Montana, the Big Mountain resort at Whitefish has yet to announce an expected opening day. Officials are still “praying for snow,” their website says.
But in Banff National Park, Sunshine is open with seven lifts and 32 of 138 runs available while Lake Louise has seven lifts open to access 56 of the resort’s 144 runs.