Alpine ski season to start Oct 31 at Mount Baldy in Thunder Bay, Ont.
October opening is earliest in decades, if not record breaking for alpine operations
Skiers and snowboarders in Thunder Bay, Ont., can dig out their winter gear this weekend, as one area ski resort will open for the season.
Mount Baldy, just north of the city will have its magic carpet area open.
As far as co-owner Jason Kardas is aware, it's the earliest ever opening for the ski area, beating out a record set in the 1970s or 80s, by just one day.
"It was actually really shocking to us. We normally don't open up until, the past had been mid-December here in Thunder Bay, possibly beginning of December. But, we figured with those whole COVID going on, we figured let's start the season off on a positive note."
Kardas said it felt like skiers in March were "ripped off" of spring skiing, with warm temperatures and an ample snow base, the area was forced to shut down because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The opening in October means the hill earns the distinction of being the only open alpine ski area east of Alberta to be open. Two resorts in Alberta will be operating this weekend.
Kardas said he's not worried about more seasonal temperatures in the first week of November harming the snow base.
"But at night, it's dipping down cold enough. We have areas that are six feet deep. That's huge for us for a base."
Kardas said the goal is to have one top-to-bottom run open on the November 7/8 weekend. He said the goal was to "aim hard" to open the Shotgun run and the T-bar, and the area is continue to make snow into Friday morning.
Face masks will be required while at the hill, he said, to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
As for other ski areas, Lappe Nordic Centre currently has 4 km of classic ski tracks available for use, although the area advises the snow cover is thin, and some of the snow is "dirtied up."
The area had its first official skier of the season glide through the snow on October 17.
Loch Lomond Ski Area said it has not started making snow for the season, while Kamview Nordic Centre has no snow on the ground.