WILMINGTON, N.Y. --- The record warm autumn days are a distant memory, snow is on the ground and Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, N.Y., opened Saturday, Nov. 18, for skiing and riding, a full week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
"I'm super excited, this is so exciting and the snow looks awesome," said Mary Ellen Decker, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., as she stood atop Little Whiteface for her first run of the 2017-'18 winter season. "This is such a beautiful day, I can't wait. I'm going to take a few runs this morning, see how I feel and I'll figure it out from there."
Record high temperatures settled in for the first half of the autumn season, but as soon as they dropped the Whiteface crew took the mountain's low-energy, high-efficiency snowguns out of storage and began making snow in anticipation of opening day.
"We've been making snow around the clock since last Tuesday. We've had some good days and we've had some warm days, but we kept up with the snowmaking because of the technology we've invested in," noted Whiteface general manager, Aaron Kellett. "The mountain crew is super excited to have the mountain open; it's what we work for all off-season."
The snowmaking efforts haven't gone unnoticed. "The snow is fantastic, I can't remember this much snow for an opening day, this early," claimed Mark Wally, of Plattsburgh, N.Y. "From top to bottom you can find great snow everywhere, it doesn't get any better than this for opening day."
Whiteface opened Saturday with summit to base skiing and snowboarding off Little Whiteface to include Excelsior, Summit Express, Upper Valley, Lower Valley, Fox, Broadway and the Mixing Bowl.
"Opening day is such an exciting time and to be able to open this early, I tip my cap to the crew at Whiteface," remarked Town of Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston.
New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Mike Pratt added, "It's great to be up and going and welcoming everybody back for the 2017-'18 season."