By Clare Ogilvie
Whistler Mountain will open this Saturday, a week ahead of schedule, thanks to heavy snowfalls in the last 10 days.
As much as 130 centimetres of snow could fall by the end of this weekend in the alpine, on top of an 84-centimetre base.
Jesse Melamed, 14, wants to be the
first person on the gondola when Whistler Mountain opens this week for skiing
“Me and my friends are going to go
there and stay overnight so we can be first up,” said Melamed, the youngest son
of Whistler’s Mayor, Ken Melamed.
He will be carrying on a family
tradition by camping out to secure a good spot for first tracks, since his
brother Dillon has done it for the last two years.
“Hopefully we won’t be too tired to
enjoy it,” quipped the teen.
This is the second year in a row
one of the local mountains has opened early thanks to wet weather systems
dumping snow. Last year Blackcomb Mountain had its earliest opening in 40 years
with first tracks starting Nov. 5.
Michelle Leroux said the powder is thigh deep in many places.
“It is nice and cold up there and
the snow is really light and I was sinking in up to my thighs, it felt
bottomless,” said Leroux.
“It doesn’t look like the early
season up there, it looks very wintry.”
Another storm front was expected to
move in overnight bringing more precipitation and wind. It was also expected to
bring warmer weather with Environment Canada forecasting the freezing level to
rise to 2,000 metres mid-week.
“There is potential for it to be
fairly wet but even if it is coming down as wet heavy snow that is good as it
sticks to the rocks,” said Leroux, adding that the freezing level is expected
to drop to surface again by the end of the week.
Despite the strong base Leroux said
people should understand it’s still early season conditions.
“People will not want to venture
beyond the ropes, but there will be sections people can hit that will be
ungroomed so you should be able to get some powder turns in by Saturday,” she