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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ski Areas Getting Ready To Open

Whether they blame the weather man or Mother Nature, ski resort officials aren't satisfied with the amount of snow that has fallen so far.

Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley marketing director, said their target date to be ready to go was Friday, but because of the weather, it doesn't appear that will be the case.

''It's not looking promising. We do expect some snow fall for the weekend, but not really extended cold for snowmaking,'' she said. ''We're keeping our options open. Once the weather cooperates, we will be able to make snow for a couple of days and be ready.''

On Friday, resort officials said the snowmaking crew began making snow at 4 p.m. Snowguns were set up and staged on the Yodeler, Mardi Gras, Candy Cane and School Haus slopes. Snowmaking is planned to continue with the goal of opening the resort by next weekend, weather permitting.

The possibility of 12 inches of lake-effect snow predicted through Sunday morning will help get the season under way. The weather forecast calls for a warmup Tuesday and Wednesday, then colder temperatures again Thursday with more natural snow.

"Stay tuned for updates on the exact opening date. Mother Nature's the one who ultimately calls the shots," said Steve Crowley, Holiday Valley director of mountain operations.

The Holiday Valley website,, will have up-to-the-minute details.

The resort located in Ellicottville has 58 slopes and 13 lifts, include there new $3.5 million morning star high-speed quad chairlift. New this year are two new slopes - the bear cub for beginners and gobbler glade for more experienced skiers. Also there is a new rails park, expanded snowmaking capabilities to make more snow quicker and an expansion of the warming hut in the tubing park.

Once ski season gets rolling, Holiday Valley will be open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The eight-hour weekend ticket costs $57 and $48 during weekdays for adults. For more information, visit or call 699-2345.

Jack VanScoter, Cockaigne Ski Area owner, said once the weatherman gets the weather right and the snow starts to fly the slopes in Cherry Creek will be ready for willing participants.

''We are ready to open, but the weatherman is going to determine when we can start,'' he said. ''We have all of our lifts inspected and personnel hired and trained, all we need is for the weatherman to give us some snow.''

VanScoter said he is about to start his 41st year at Cockaigne and is still having fun. New features this year include new ski rental equipment. Skiers can attend ''Retro Ski Days'' Dec. 20-23 and ''Christmas Race Camp'' Dec. 26-30. For more information on schedule of events, visit or call 287-3223. A weekend ski ticket is $34.

In Findley Lake, Peek'n Peak is guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days of skiing and riding for the 2010-11 winter season. If there trails aren't 100 percent open, daily lift tickets will be discounted based on the percentage of open terrain. Their state-of-the-art snowmaking technology and naturally great snow location means guests are skiing and riding on a minimum of a 6-inch groomed base. The resort has 27 slopes and trails serviced by eight chairlifts. Peek'n Peak is open seven days and nights a week throughout the ski season with equipment and helmet rentals available. A weekend pass cost $56 for adults. For more information, visit or 355-4141.

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