Whistler Mountain has announced it will kick off the new ski season Thursday, Nov. 19 — one week earlier than originally planned — thanks a couple of big snowfalls and cold temperatures.

"Everyone is champing at the bit," said Sarah Morden of Whistler Blackcomb. "It's snowing right now in the valley. Hopefully this keeps up all week and we can get some powder for people."

Since the beginning of November the mountain has received 98 centimetres of natural snow, with the forecast calling for a dump of another 45 centimetres at upper elevations thanks to a large storm moving over the region.

Temperatures have been cold enough to allow for the making of significant artificial snow as well.

Morden says the appearance of so much snow has added to the anticipation of the mountain opening, with a few keeners already spotted making unauthorized runs.

She says is a definite no-no, especially with all the grooming equipment currently working to get the runs ready.

"We've unfortunately had people hiking up to the snow line which is not safe and not recommended," said Morden.

Five lifts will be operating opening day and lift tickets will be offered at a yet to be determined discount.

Whistler is the second B.C. ski hill to announce an early opening. Big White near Kelowna will open limited runs Friday Nov. 13, two weeks before its scheduled opening.