Photo Gallery | Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort's slopes open for season
HANCOCK — Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed inaugural runs down nine different trails at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort over the weekend, when the mountain opened up to winter sportsmen for the first time of the season.
Brian Fairbank, chairman of the Fairbank Group, which operates Jiminy, said temperatures dropped low enough — 19 degrees — to convert millions of gallons of water to snow overnight Monday.
"It survived 60-degree weather on Friday and the rain on Saturday, so we'll be open [Sunday]," Fairbank said. "We have every reason to believe Saturdays and Sundays from here on out, and we'll take it from there."
He added, "If we get some snow on the ground we may start to open on weekdays, too."
More than 100 new snowmaking guns purchased by the business over the offseason is "making all the difference" so far, Fairbank said.
"That converts more gallons [of water into snow], more efficiently than anything else out there," Fairbank said. "We call it the sledgehammer."
A total of 37 acres, or 2.5 miles, of ski territory was open over the weekend. Hundreds of visitors came by to catch some early-season action.
"By five o'clock Friday we had around four or five hundred skiers and snowboarders on the mountain," Paul Maloney, Jiminy's vice president, said. "We're hanging in there. There's some bare spots and some mud spots, but everyone is saying the skiing is really nice."
Fairbank added, "People are describing it as smooth, spring skiing conditions."
The area's other ski outlets — Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, Catamount Ski Area in South Egremont, Otis Ridge Ski Area in Otis and Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield — all reported on Saturday that they would begin making snow soon.