'It's gonna be one of the best starts in history': 'fantastic' conditions on B.C. ski hills this weekend

Whistler Mountain opens today with 20 trails and five lifts, one week ahead of schedule.

Early cold means early starts for Whistler Mountain, Sun Peaks and other hills throughout the province

Whistler Mountain was scheduled to open Nov. 23 but is now opening one week early. (Mitch Winton/Coast Mountain Photography)

Skiers and riders rejoice!

Below average temperatures and some early snowfall have created perfect conditions for ski hills throughout the province.

Whistler Blackcomb is opening one week early with conditions chief operating officer Pete Sontag says are super.

"If you came up here right now, there's no way you think it's mid-November. It feels like mid-January to mid-February. It's chilly, everything is white, and the snow is fantastic quality up there on the mountain."

Not all the runs are open as just Whistler Mountain is opening Friday, not neighbouring Blackcomb, but Sontag says there are 20 trails and five lifts.

"It's still a pretty hefty chunk of terrain, probably more than anyone else in B.C. right now."

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, is opening all three of its mountains this weekend. (Bailey Cuesta)

Farther north, Kamloops' Sun Peaks may give Whistler a run for its money. The resort is kicking off the season Saturday with all three of its mountains open — the first time in recent memory that's happened.

"It's gonna be one of the best starts in history," said Aiden Kelly, chief marketing officer for the ski hill.

"We're gonna open up all three of our mountains and every one of the lifts with the exception of the Burfield ... it's pretty rare."

Sun Peaks markets itself as "Canada's second largest ski area" and has 135 trails and 12 lifts.

Back in the Lower Mainland, Cypress and Grouse Mountains both opened last week. Cypress remains open with limited runs and Grouse remains on standby with no runs open.

Powder King, between Prince George and Dawson Creek, said it is "99 per cent on track" to open Saturday. They will make a final announcement on Facebook Friday evening.

Other hills around the province with scheduled openings are:

  • Sun Peaks (Kamloops): Nov. 18.
  • SilverStar (Vernon): Nov. 23. 
  • Big White (Kelowna): Nov. 23.
  • Hudsons Bay Mountain (Smithers): Nov. 24. 
  • Fernie: Dec. 1.
  • Revelstoke: Dec. 2.
  • Mount Washington (Courtenay): Dec. 8.
  • Kicking Horse (Golden): Dec. 8.
  • Panorama (Cranbrook): Dec. 8.
  • Whitewater (Nelson): Dec. 8.
  • Troll (Quesnel): Dec. 8.
  • Kimberley: Dec. 9.
  • Shames (Terrace): Dec. 9
  • Red Mountain (Rossland): Dec. 9.
  • Murray Ridge (Fort St. James): Dec. 16.

With files from The Early Edition and CBC Kamloops