By Rick Miller

After opening the day after Thanksgiving, Holiday Valley Resort is already marking its 18th skiing day today — getting the 2018-19 season off to a great start.

Weather permitting, Holiday Valley should have 85 percent of its slopes open this weekend, said marketing director Jane Eshbaugh.

“We’ve been very fortunate, we’ve been able to make a lot of snow on top of 65 inches of natural snow so far this season,” Eshbaugh said Monday.

“It gets people motivated to buy passes and come out for a great time,” she said of the snow. “It’s good advertising.”

The snow also adds to the quality of the skiing at the resort, which has hundreds of snow guns to make snow in many conditions.

“We’ve been making snow everywhere except the Eagle area,” Eshbaugh said. “If all goes well, we could be skiing on 85 percent of the area this weekend. By Christmas, we hope to have it all open.”

The week between Christmas and the New Year are some of the resort’s busiest times, Eshbaugh said. Still, it is weather dependent. “It’s going to be a nice cool week until Friday and Saturday when it warms up, then cooling again,” she said. “It looks good for Christmas.”

At its peak, the resort has about 1,300 seasonal employees, including food and beverage employees.

The Holiday Valley Tube Park off Route 242 north of Ellicottville opens Dec. 22.

This coming weekend is one a lot of skiers look forward to every year, Demo Day. It’s Saturday in front of the Holiday Valley Lodge — slopeside.

Hook up with manufacturers to try their newest equipment for a run or two on the slopes. Then, if you see something you like, they’ll probably have what you are looking for at one of the event’s four sponsors: Mud, Sweat & Gears, City Garage, The Boardroom and Holiday Valley.

“We’re really happy with what we’ve seen so far,” Eshbaugh said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’s going to be a good winter.”