If predictions are right, Canadians should be gearing up for a snowy winter season, delivering excellent conditions for skiers across the Columbia Valley.
According to AccuWeather Global Weather Center, a snowy season is in store with winter storms dumping rounds of rain and mountain snow across the Rocky Mountain region in Western Canada.
Heavy snow will quickly pile up in the mountains, which should get the western ski season off to a good start, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said in a press release.
This will allow ski resorts in British Columbia and Alberta to establish a solid base early in the winter season that will last throughout the spring, the report said.
For ski resorts in the Columbia Valley like Panorama Mountain Resort, Nipika Mountain Resort and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, these reports mean getting ready for the winter season earlier than in years past.
Weve done a bunch of work on our trails and theyre all mowed, said Lyle Wilson, owner of Nipika Mountain Resort. We mowed 50 kilometres of grass so its all down and smooth as a babys bum so we should be able to get (operations) going on much less snow this year.
In Fairmont, marketing co-ordinator Rachel Dick said they have implemented a strategic direction with regards to snowmaking and grooming in hopes of opening all of the runs earlier than in previous years.
The main focus for our ski area is to provide the best experience that we can appeal to families and locals, she said. If the forecast for a heavier snowfall this season comes to fruition, that will enhance their experience with us even further.
At Panorama, theyre ready for anything, said marketing specialist Clarissa Amaro.
All the indications that were seeing looks like its going to be a fairly snowy winter, she said, but just in case something changes, were going to have a really good base anyways because we do have such an incredible snow making system here, so were just making sure that we have all our bases covered.
Ms. Amaro said they already had 75 centimetres of snowfall on the summit of the mountain that has been packed down to 30 centimetres thanks to the expansion of their boot-packing program to 20 people this year. The boot-packing program requires the ski patrol team to go to areas that are particularly exposed and pose potential avalanche threats. It allows the snow to last longer on the mountain into the spring.
Mr. Wilson said the great forecasts will have a positive effect on the psyche of skiers throughout the area.
Good snow forecasts, the Farmers Almanac, this El Nina effect on the Pacific, I think it psychologically gets people excited about winter, he said, noting that Nipika Mountain Resorts first big event is just around the corner.
Mr. Wilson said Nipika has added approximately 25 kilometres in fat bike trails for people to ride on this winter, which people will be able to experience for World Fat Bike Day on December 3rd. Mr. Wilson said Nipika will be running a Fat Bike Festival for people to join in on. Visit www.nipika.com for details.
Less than a week later, Panorama Mountain Resort plans to hold its opening day on December 9th with the possibility of an opening powder weekend prior, weather permitting. Visit www.panoramaresort.com.
The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ski Area plans to hold its opening day on December 16th, just over a week prior to the 31st Annual Torchlight Parade that will occur on December 24th. Fairmont also offers same-day access to its natural mineral hot springs with a lift ticket, so guests can enjoy a soak after they ski, as well as two levels of terrains parks and the only tube park in the Columbia Valley. Visit www.fairmonthotsprings.com/ski-area.