An image taken from the Alpine Camera on Mount Washington on the afternoon of Dec. 13.

Mount Washington ski hill opens

Lineups started early Saturday

After a delay of more than a week, Mount Washington received enough snow to open for the season on Saturday.

The Whiskey Jack chairlift took skiers and boarders three-quarters of the way up the mountain, while the Easy-Acres beginner area and tube park were also open.

Days before the original opening day of Dec. 7, the resort had only received 10 centimetres of snow at the top of its runs. A minimum of three feet is usually required to open. By Friday, there was 40 cm at the base after an overnight snowfall of 15 cm. By Sunday, the base was 75 cm.

“Last week it really started, but this weekend picked up quite a bit, almost doubling our base,” marketing manager Sheila Rivers said. “Which was really nice because then we were able to open the Hawk chair on Sunday.”

The Hawk provides manageable runs for skiers and boarders who are not beginners, but who may wish to avoid the steeper terrain of Whiskey Jack.

The Sunrise chairlift will be spinning by 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Though the ski hill didn’t open until 9 a.m., lineups started at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.

“We’re ready to open more terrain as the snow allows,” Rivers said. “It’s looking very promising.”

The resort has implemented new radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for gates and ticketing. The hands-free lift access — like tapping a debit card — eliminates scanning and allows visitors to load up tickets online.

For the second year in a row, the resort is offering free Discovery Days packages. Those 13 and older who have never skied or snowboarded can receive free lessons, equipment and a lift ticket. Last year’s promotion drew 1,000 people to the mountain.

Discovery Days runs until Friday, Dec. 21 for those who pre-register at mountwashington.ca.

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