By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

The opening weekend at Panorama Mountain Resort is approaching and, since last season, theres been $10,000,000 invested to grow every element of its community on the slopes, at the eateries, and in the residences.

The 2014-2015 season commences on Friday, December 12th, and the first weekend is Discovery Weekend: a grand opening celebration to commemorate the new Discovery Zone. A new chairlift, the Discovery Quad, as well as the Little Ripper the new magic carpet have been constructed to offer novice skiers a more comfortable bridge between simple and technical skiing.

We have totally reshaped the area around the base of the mountain so that access to our beginner terrain is quick and easy, said Jamie Hurschler, Panoramas marketing and media specialist. The Little Ripper conveyor style lift acts as a point of first experience sliding on snow. The ultra-mellow terrain beside this lift gives the first timer the chance to get used to standing and moving about in their new ski or snowboard gear.

Since next weekend is the debut of this major machinery, the resorts opening days have already garnered ample hype.

We are thrilled to be debuting the new Discovery Zone and Discovery Quad on our opening weekend, Mr. Hurschler said. The mountain will be open for skiing on Friday, but Saturday morning will be the grand opening event which kicks off at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a prize plaque awarded to the winner of the Name the Chairlift competition, Nat McGrath.

Nat will be taking three of his friends on the ceremonial first ride on the morning of Saturday, December 13th. For the rest of the day, skiers and borders residing in the valley will be able to ride the new Discovery Quad for just $2. After taking in the new features the first two days, locals are invited back on Sunday, December 14th, when the resort is offering $2 lift passes to locals. All proceeds will support the Panorama Foundation.

Theres $2 skiing on Sunday, December 14th for everybody from Brisco to Canal Flats, and $10 beginner ski lessons, said snow school director Jason Simpson.

Since spending all day on the hill will entice anybodys hunger, Panorama has refreshed its variety of dining options. This year, Monticola, a fusion of Italian-Canadian dishes, has been added to the array of restaurants. And just down the road at Greywolf Golf Course, its brand new clubhouse is set to open with Cliffhanger a new restaurant named after the courses signature hole, situated at an elevated view over Hole #18. Cliffhanger will be open during evenings from Thursday to Saturday, and serving brunch on Sundays.

For those spending more than a day at Panorama, the resort is growing its slopeside accommodation options. With the addition of the Discovery Quad, future phases at the Trappers Ridge development will offer real estate opportunity within a stones throw of the runs. And after 1000 Peaks Lodge suffered major fire damage in early 2013, reconstruction of the building is underway. Itll be brand new again, Mr. Simpson said. But because of insurance purposes, Itll look great. He expects 1000 Peaks Lodge to reopen fall of 2015.

Since the end of last season, the Panorama team has focused entirely on making sure our vacation experiences are first rate, said Steve Paccagnan, resort president and chief executive officer. We feel that weve created something brand new, and were excited to show skiers what $10 million dollars and an immense amount of hard work can do.