The cross-country ski season at Ski Callaghan will get underway as planned this Saturday, Nov. 13, but with less snow than hoped for.
According to Lindsay Durno, director of Whistler Olympic Park, roughly 3.2 km of trails were groomed in the high alpine near the Callaghan Country lodge as of Tuesday. With additional new snow they plan to open more trails that can be accessed by the Callaghan Lake parking lot, to bring the total to over five kilometres. You'll need a 4X4 vehicle to access those trails via the Callaghan FSR road says Durno, but there's no charge to ski. Early season conditions are in effect, but the tracks will be groomed for skate skiing with classic tracks set.
"I expect that will just be for the die-hards, but for people looking forward to skiing we've got some of the earliest skiing in the province," Durno said.
Meanwhile, Ski Callaghan is still planning to celebrate opening day at the base area. There will be a barbecue from noon to 2 p.m., a chance to shoot the biathlon rifles and other family-friendly activities. The goal of the weekend is to sell passes, with early bird rates ending Sunday night and regular rates going into effect on Monday. If you buy before Sunday you can save as much as $50 for a single area pass or $90 for a dual area pass that includes Lost Lake.
For a Ski Callaghan pass, it's $225 for adults, $135 for youth 13 to 18, $113 for children 6 to 12. Family passes are $450, which includes two adults and up to two children. Day ticket prices are also posted for the season, and are posted at www.whistlerolympicpark.com.
For Lost Lake, early passes are $224 for adults, $135 for youth, $112 for children and $448 for family.
The best value, which gives skinny skiers access to over 120 km of groomed trails in Lost Lake and the Callaghan, is the Dual Area pass. These are priced at $339 for adults, $205 for youth, $168 for children, and $678 for families, or about 50 per cent higher than a pass for one area.
Passes are available at Meadow Park or you can download an application form at www.whistlerolympicpark.com and send it in by e-mail or fax. You can also purchase a pass over the phone at 604-964-0060.
As well as selling passes the opening weekend is an opportunity to introduce skiers to the Ski Callaghan concept, combining Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country trails and resources into a single destination. Only the Callaghan Country Lodge, which offers lodging to cross-country skiers and backcountry skiers and boarders, remains separate in the new partnership, although there will be a sales desk for the lodge as well.
Starting this week you can also get regular snow and trail reports online at www.whistlerolympicpark.com.