Local cross-country skiing enthusiasts got exactly they needed for Christmas this year enough snow to at last open the Lost Lake Cross Country Trails system.
"It was a nice present from Santa," said Ian Goldstone of the Whistler Cross Country Connection.
Crews worked around the clocks starting on Christmas Day to get the course in shape, packing the snow with snowmobiles and a new groomer.
"We were getting about three centimetres of snow an hour, so it took quite some time to get everything in shape. We went from zero to 60 in no time. It took a day and a half to play catch-up," Goldstone said.
There was a soft opening on Boxing Day that was free to the public, and by Dec. 30, all 32 kilometres of trails around Lost Lake, Nicklaus North and the Chateau Whistler golf courses were open for both classic and skate skiing.
According to Goldstone, the Cross Country Connection typically expects to open around Dec. 15. In his 12 years in Whistler, he says the latest opening he can remember is Boxing Day, "so it was pretty close."
The conditions are excellent he says, thanks to the cold weather.
"It keeps the snow around longer, the course is in good shape It also kept the snow on the trees, which was an added bonus. Its just wonderful out here."
Although there wasnt much time to get the word out that the trails were open, the volume of skiers is already back to normal for this time of year.
"We (Goldstone and business partner Chris Waller) do a lot of leg work in October and November, so people knew we were here. As soon as we opened, people just started showing up," said Goldstone.
The trails are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with four kilometres of lighted trails for night skiing, starting at 4 p.m.
For adults, the cost of a day pass is $10, or $4 after 4 p.m. A book of 10 tickets is $80, a seasons pass is $170 and a seasons night pass is $60.
For youth, ages 13 to 18, a day pass is $6 or just $2 after 4 p.m. A book of 10 passes is $48, a seasons pass is $102 and a night pass is $30.
For children, ages six to 12, a day pass is $5 and evenings are free. Seasons passes are available for $85, and a book of 10 passes is $40.
A family day pass, two guardians and all kids 18 and under, is $20 for a day and $8 after 4 p.m. A book of 10 is $160, a seasons pass is $340 and a seasons night pass is $120.
Equipment rentals are available onsite at the Lost Lake Cross Country Connection, which is located next to the ticket booth in Lost Lake Park.
Call 604-905-0071 for more information.