Photo by Rick Miller

By Rick Miller

With natural snow and cold temperatures allowing for snowmaking, Holiday Valley will open Saturday for a preview weekend — a week ahead of schedule.

“With the cold temperatures we had ideal conditions last week and weekend to make a lot of snow, over 300 acre feet,” said Dennis Eshbaugh, president of the resort.

That’s enough snow to cover 300 acres with a foot of the white stuff.

“We’ve let that snow cure and now we’re grooming it out to make a nice, smooth skiing surface,” Eshbaugh said. “This allows us to open a week ahead of schedule for a preview weekend.”

The resort plans to open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with six slopes with three lifts. Skiing and snowboarding will continue until 10 p.m. Saturday, and again from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Eshbaugh said the slopes will be closed Monday through Thursday, and then will open for the winter season on Friday, Nov. 29, weather permitting.

Reduced ticket prices will be offered for this preview weekend at $45 for adults and $35 for juniors (age 7-11) for eight hours and $42 for adults and $32 for juniors for four hours. Night tickets are $28 for adults and $25 for juniors.

Beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain will be available. Limited services will be available.

Snowmaking was conducted on a total of 10 slopes using up to 230 snowguns at a time, thanks to Holiday Valley’s automated snowmaking system where guns are centrally controlled by a computer, Eshbaugh said.

Holiday Valley has the largest automated snowmaking system of its kind in the East, allowing quick startups and shutdowns.

Saturday’s open lifts will include Mardi Gras, Yodeler and Creekside. Quad chairs and slopes include School Haus, Mardi Gras, Yodeler, Candy Cane, Crystal and Sugar Plum.

Additionally, the resort made snow on Morning Star, Cindy’s, Sunrise and Tannenbaum and plans are to stockpile that snow until the opening the day after Thanksgiving.