WILMINGTON —- Whiteface Mountain opened for the 2011-12 season Friday, under blue skies with temperatures in the lower-40's.
"It's great to open on such a lovely Adirondack day. With both Whiteface and Gore open we usher in the 2011-'12 winter, " said New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer.
"Hats off to the crews that got us open despite the weather, as well as the challenges from the repairs from Irene. For us, today is white… as in 'Snow Friday.'"
"We really look forward to this day," said Patricia Reynolds, of Albany, who was at Whiteface with her 12-year-old daughter and six-year-old son. "It's great to be outdoors with the family, spending time together, doing something that we all enjoy doing together as a family. Plus it's a beautiful day. Who could ask for more?"
About 800 people were skiing and riding on the mountain's six- to 14-inch variable base. The morning began with three trails open, Upper Valley, Lower Valley and Fox, all serviced by the Face Lift chair. By late-morning, the gondola fired up, taking skiers and riders to the summit of Little Whiteface, where they enjoyed top to bottom runs on Excelsior and Lower Express.
"Everyone is excited; people were here bright and early to get on the lift. Some were here as early as 7:15 in the morning for the lift that opens at 8:30," added the mountain's manager Bruce McCulley.
"All the staff worked hard to get to this day. It's great to see so many people out there enjoying themselves. The 14-inches of natural snowfall earlier this week was a nice plus."
Whiteface began making snow on Nov. 16, and Mother Nature contributed on Tuesday night, Nov. 22, and Wednesday, delivering more than 14-inches of snowfall. It was the most natural snowfall for an opening weekend at Whiteface in a decade.
"Today is just awesome, I love it, it's the best day of the year," noted Chris Miles, a sophomore at Plattsburgh State University. "It's day #1 of a whole lot of boarding this winter. I'm super psyched."
The opening weekend of skiing and riding continues today and Sunday. Opening day lift tickets lift tickets on Friday were are $38 for adults/teens/seniors and $24 for juniors (7-12) and these prices will be in effect throughout the weekend.