Friday November 9, 2012

If you want to ski this weekend, throw the skis or snowboard into the car and head for the hills! You’ll have at least three great resorts to choose among.

Sunday River (www.sundayriver. com) in Newry, Maine, and Killington Resort (www.killington. com) in Killington, Vt., both officially opened on Tuesday morning, Nov. 6. Okemo Moun tain in Lud low, Vt., followed close behind. As I write this, Okemo had announced it would be opening for the season on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Sunday River, as usual, started things off by opening the top of its T2 Run on Tuesday morning and were, as of this writing, planning to go top-to-bottom on the Locke Mountain Triple on Wednesday morning, Nov. 7. With the continuing cold, it was adding snow on T2, Sunday Punch, Upper Punch, Right Stuff, Ecstasy and Cascades.

Killington started with Upper Great Northern and Rime accessed via the K1 gondola and the North Peak Triple. Typically you have to hike a set of stairs from the top of the triple back up to the top of the gondola to download when you are done for the day. Killington was also laying down snow on Reason, Upper Downdraft and Lower Ridge Run.

With more cold weather in the forecast, it looks like things are just going to get better and better. Hooray!!!! There’s snow on the slopes. What are you waiting for?

Snowmaking everywhere!

Killington, Sunday River and Okemo weren’t the only areas with their snowguns firing this week.


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In Quebec, Stoneham(www.ski stoneham.com ) in Stoneham and Mont Sainte Anne (www.mont sainte-anne.com) in Beaupre were laying down white in hopes of an early opening.

In Maine, Sugarloaf (www.sugar loaf.com) in Carrabassett Valley was in the hunt to join Sunday River.

In New Hampshire, Cranmore Mountain Resort (www.cranmore. com) in North Conway and Bret ton Woods (603-278-3320; www. bret tonwoods.com) in Bretton Woods were making snow as of Tuesday.

In New York, Gore Mountain (www.goremountain.com) in North Creek fired up over 70- snowguns on Monday night, while Whiteface (www.whiteface.com ) in Wilmington, started laying out carpets of white to welcome skiers the day after Thanksgiving.

I’m sure others have cranked up their snow-making systems -- at least for test drives. It looks to me like the winter of 2012-13 is off to a great start.

Here’s the deal:

The Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo, which runs this Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 8-11, at the Sea port World Trade Center in Bos ton, is a great place to look for deals.

For example, Bolton Valley (www.boltonvalley.com) is selling four packs of anytime tickets for $100. That’s $25 per day for weekend and holiday tickets. Limit is one four-pack per customer and whoever buys them must be present when the tickets are redeemed (although they may use all four tickets in one day if they wish for family or friends.)

Bolton Valley is one of my favorite areas in Vermont. It’s typically quiet midweek and has excellent terrain (especially when Mother Nature fills the glades with natural snow. Internationally known extreme skiers Rob, Eric and Adam DesLauriers grew up skiing there, which tells you something about the quality of the off-piste terrain. Bolton’s an easy place to reach, just a few minutes off I-189. This is an excellent chance to ski a great area cheap!

Bolton also has a Ski for Free Package starting at $89 per night, a Happy Holidays Lodging Special is from $58 per night from Dec. 16 to 24, and special vouchers will be available for a $39 lift ticket, valid any day of the 2012-2013 season.

Tim Jones writes about outdoor sports and travel. He can be reached at timjones@easternslopes.com