Resort Openings this weekend

Whistler accommodations

A slew of Western resorts are opening this weekend with a smattering of areas in Canada and the U.S.

Whistler and Sunshine headline the list of Canadian areas that are poised to open. Sunshine cranks up Nov. 17, a day earlier than initially planned, thanks to a 16-inch snowfall, with more snow in the forecast. The area will operate four lifts on a 27-inch base. The other Banff-area resorts, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay, both opened Nov. 5

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Whistler Mountain is opening six days earlier than planned, on Nov. 18, with five lifts, including two gondolas. The alpine forecast is calling for as much as a foot or more of snow before Friday, which will add to the current two-foot base. Blackcomb will open on November 24. The Whistler Blackcomb snowmaking team has turned over 50 million gallons of water into snow so far this season.

Sun Peaks, B.C., Loch Lomond, Ont., and Canada Olympic Park in Calgary are also opening this weekend.

Park City is one of four areas in Utah that are starting up the lifts. It will operate three lifts and seven runs, as well as its all-season mountain coaster and zipline. Most base-area services will be open as well. Other Utah resorts set to start operations this weekend include Alta, Snowbird, and Brian Head.

Elsewhere in the US Rockies, Vail and Eldora are set to go in Colorado, as are Sipapu in New Mexico and Crystal Mountain, Wash. Snowmass, Colo., opened last weekend, five days ahead of schedule, with 160 acres of terrain including the Big Burn.

Lookout Pass, on the Idaho-Montana border, will get an early start as well. The area received 21 inches of snow last weekend, with more in the forecast from today into weekend. The area will run top to bottom on at least 10 runs.

Wolf Creek, Colo., another area that relies on natural snow, is the first area on the continent to be 100 percent open. It has a 43-50 inch base on 77 trails.

In California, Vail Resorts’ Northstar-at-Tahoe and Heavenly both initiate operations this weekend, as does China Peak. Northstar will offer 40 acres of novice and intermediate terrain and some terrain park features, served by five lifts. There will be live music on the Village Stage each afternoon, Friday-Sunday, and an EpicMixer for EpicMix fans.

Eastern areas that are opening this weekend include Mount Snow, Okemo, Stowe, and Sugarbush, Vermont; Sugarloaf, Maine; Bretton Woods and Waterville Valley, N.H.; and Belleayre, N.Y.

In the Midwest, Andes Tower Hills and Lutsen Mountains, Minn., join Ski Brule and Trollhaugen, which are reopening, and Wild Mountain. In the Southeast, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is opening, while Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain resume weekend operations.