---- — WILMINGTON — Six days ahead of schedule, Whiteface Mountain opened for the 2012-13 skiing and riding season Saturday.
Bright sunshine, mild temperatures and variable conditions greeted hundreds of skiers and riders that rode the Facelift quad chair to the Upper Valley, Lower Valley and Fox trails.
“There were a lot of smiling faces today, plenty of people excited to see the mountain open,” New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Ted Blazer said in a news release.
“The crew and staff at the mountain did an outstanding job getting it ready for today. This is day number one for what should be an exciting season ahead.”
Blazer noted that the recent weather and temperatures have been ideal for making snow. This allowed the mountain to open earlier than anticipated, he said.
Saturday marked the earliest opening for Whiteface since 2003-04 when the season began Nov. 16.
“We read about the mountain opening in the paper today,” said Ryan Cross of Essex. “My wife and I thought that it would be fun to see what the skiing would be like. I’m glad that we did; the snow’s great and the temperatures are perfect.”
Skiing and riding continues today. Lift tickets are $25; that money can be used toward the purchase of a 2012-13 season pass.
The season pass deadline has been extended through Sunday, for both Whiteface and Gore. The adult non-holiday pass is available for $699, while the adult full-season pass is $869. The young adult and college season pass can be purchased for $385, and the junior pass is $299.
Whiteface will close and re-open Friday, Nov. 23, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. ORDA’s two other ski resorts, Gore Mountain, in North Creek and Belleayre Ski Resort in Highmount, are also slated to open during the holiday period, conditions permitting. Gore’s opening day is Friday, while Belleayre is scheduled to open Saturday.