Sunshine opens all areas

RON MANZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Sunshine Village became the first of the local resorts to completely open this past weekend when Goat's Eye became available to ski and ride.

With over 10 cm of new snow, Sunshine now boasts an average base in the village of 83 cm. A total of 83 of the 107 runs at the resort are now open including the ski out to the parking lot.

Mike Moynihan, manger of sales at Sunshine Village, couldn't be more pleased with the recent weather patterns.

"Mother Nature has blessed us with a fantastic start," he said. "During opening weekend, we were greeted with our best snow conditions in sixteen years. And now we have one of our earliest openings of Goat's Eye Mountain."

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LAKE LOUISE:

Officials at Lake Louise Mountain Resort hope to have the Larch and Ptarmigan chairs operating by tomorrow. The final decision was to be made this afternoon.

If the green light is indeed given, then all areas at Lake Louise will be open to the public to ski and ride.

The Grizzly Gondola re-opened for operations this past Saturday after being shutdown for one week for repairs.

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KICKING HORSE:

Kicking Horse Resort has brought back its Powder Pass this season.

The $20 pass is available to Alberta and B.C. residents only and must be purchased before Dec. 24.

The card provides 40% off a regular lift ticket price, so an adult can ski or snowboard for $35 a day. The Power Pass can be purchased at Chinook Centre's Customer Service desk or online at www.kickinghorseresort.com.

Kicking Horse opens for the season Dec. 16. It currently has over 150 cm of snow in its upper bowls.

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VAGABOND LODGE:

The Vagabond Lodge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, situated across the road from the Eagle Express Gondola, is offering a pre-Christmas stay and ski/snowboard special.

Starting at $264 per person, based on double occupancy, plus tax, you get two night's accommodation, two adult lift tickets, continental breakfast and a hot lunch.

For more information or to book, log onto www.vagabondlodge.ca or call toll free at 1-866-944-2622.

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CASTLE MOUNTAIN:

Castle Mountain Resort near Pincher Creek will officially open Dec. 16 but there is a chance it may open for operation this weekend.

The Corb Lund band is playing at Castle Mountain this Sunday regardless if they are open or not. The Davis Pontiac Pray for Powder Party is set for Dec. 17 but if the resort opens this weekend, it will be moved to Saturday.

Castle Mountain Resort has ski and stay packages ranging from $55-$130 per person per night which includes both lift ticket and accommodation. People can stay on-hill for the ski-in, ski-out experience from $63 and up. Log on to www.castlemountainresort.com for more details or to book.

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BACKCOUNTRY EXPERIENCE:

The University of Calgary Outdoor Centre is offering one-day introductory courses on backcountry skiing and snowboarding starting Jan. 2.

The courses are open to anyone who wants to enjoy the backcountry experience. There is instruction on equipment, how to use climbing skins, and how to adjust your ski or snowboard skills to handle the different conditions you will encounter in the backcountry. The courses will run every second week starting in January.

They include a lecture session and one day with an instructor in Kananaskis country. The cost is $120.

There are also week-long backcountry trips being organized. Registration is currently being taken for one set for Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 at Ruby Creek Lodge in the Valhalla Mountains near Nakusp, B.C.

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SILVER WOODS:

The 360 acres of brand new terrain making up 10 runs and five glade areas of Silver Woods at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, B.C., officially opened on the weekend. 


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