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Got skis?

I can just see the long lines of cars now! :-)

A snow-making machine, coupled with two storms this week, have led to one of the earliest openings in years for Boreal Mountain Resort, nestled in the Sierra Nevada adjacent to Interstate 80 west of Donner Summit. The resort will open tomorrow, Friday, October 26 at 9 AM. Lift tickets will be $15 on Friday. For the weekend, the price will be $35. The resort will also offer night skiing until 9 p.m. SFGate.com says:

Boreal received 30 inches of snow early this week, reported Jon Slaughter at Boreal, then another 6 inches early Wednesday morning. With temperatures dropping into the 20s at night, he said the resort has cranked up its snowmaking operations, too. It’s enough snow for Boreal to get a lift running and allow skiers and boarders to sail down the primary hill.

This harkens back to the good ol’ days in the 1980s and ’90s when Boreal was always the first of the Tahoe-region resorts to open – typically with a run or two and traditionally around Halloween. The forecast is for partly sunny and cold weather early Friday, with a low of 23 and a high of 54. By Sunday, the forecast is a low of 35 and a high of 63.

The next storm for the season, predicted to be a mix of rain and snow, is set for Halloween.

Some resorts have set opening dates. Northstar, located off Highway 267 at north Tahoe, and Heavenly, on the slopes near casino row at South Lake Tahoe, project they will open Nov. 16. That is based on snowmaking ability, not storm tracks.

On its website, Northstar has a timer-clock on its home page that is counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to its opening day.

In the eastern Sierra, Mammoth Mountain (1) is projected to open Nov. 8. I visited here earlier this month and took a ride to the top of the Mammoth Summit at an elevation of 11,053 feet. With a light to moderate El Niño projected across the Pacific, operators expect 400 to 450 inches of cumulative snowfall at Mammoth.

Operators of several other ski areas hope to open Thanksgiving weekend, including Sugar Bowl near I-80, Squaw Valley along Highway 89 in north Tahoe, and Kirkwood off Highway 88 near Carson Pass.

Rather than focus on single-day lift ticket prices, resort operators are selling a large variety of season passes, about every type of package deal you might imagine. They hope to lure in vacationers from not only the Bay Area and Sacramento, but from across the nation, and then keep them under their control for multi-day visits.

-Bill at

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