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snow elsewhere

B.C., Alberta ski resorts By Don Anderson It would appear that Whistler/Blackcomb has gotten the jump on most other Western Canadian ski resorts with this weekend’s opening of Blackcomb Mountain. A telephone tour of popular resorts in B.C. and Alberta on Wednesday afternoon suggested that Whistler wasn’t the only one waiting for the big dump. Pity the folks at Red Mountain, whose lifts probably won’t start rolling until late this month or early December. The resort has "virtually nothing" in the way of snow, said Terry Miller of guest services. "It’s snowing but we have pretty limited coverage," Miller reported. The mountain had a 10-centimetre base on Wednesday; a base of 50 cm on the bottom and 70 cm in the alpine is required before there’s any action on the slopes. Conditions permitting, the mountain will open for weekends Nov. 28 and operate full-time by Dec. 12. Big White Ski Resort was reporting a "couple of inches" of coverage — a whopping six inches of the white stuff to be exact, said vice-president Michael Ballingall. "We have nothing to ski on," said Ballingall, adding that they were hoping for a 20-centimetre dump Wednesday night. The mountain will try to open for the American Thanksgiving long weekend, if Mother Nature is kind enough. "Traditionally, in a 10 year period the latest we’ve opened is Dec. 5," said Ballingall. "We’re not worried yet." Of the Interior resorts, Sun Peaks is by far in the best shape, thanks to improved snowmaking and the addition of a 30 million gallon reservoir last summer. The resort has 12 guns going full time, and about 44 cm of snow had accumulated at the top of Top of the World and 30 cm at mid-mountain. General manager Darcy Alexander said about half of the mountain’s trails will be open by Nov. 27, the remainder scheduled to open by mid-December. "Two out of 10 years you’re going to have a late start," said Alexander, adding that he isn’t "too terribly concerned" about the dreaded El Niño scare because Sun Peaks typically records a higher snowfall on average during El Niño years. At this time last year most Western Canadian resorts were in full motion, including, Charlie Locke’s newly christened Fernie Alpine Resort. East Kootenay skiers will have to wait until at least Nov. 28 before they can ski at Fernie. There’s some snow cover, but not enough to provide a base for carving turns. Like everybody else, they’re waiting, waiting, waiting. Last year at this time they were under three-four feet of snow. Across the border at Locke’s Lake Louise resort lifts are running, although the amount of skiing is rather sketchy — two miles in total. The Alberta resort opened Nov. 14 with two chairs and a T-bar. Snowmaking is in full force and snow was falling lightly on Wednesday. Other scheduled openings include Sunshine Village on Nov. 21, Fortress Mountain on Nov. 28, Nakiska Dec. 5, Norquay Dec. 6 and Panorama on Dec. 12.

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