Grouse and Cypress mountains open early for skiers

After a dismal ski season last year, local mountains are getting a jump start on winter.

Grouse and Cypress mountains are both opening ahead of schedule on Friday, just one day after Whistler started welcoming skiers and snowboarders.

Grouse has seen about 58 centimetres of natural snow since the beginning of the month, and teams have been blasting the snowmaking guns around the clock to fill in the gaps.

The Snowshoe Grind opened Friday morning and the Paradise Bowl and Paradise Jib Park were scheduled to open at 2 p.m.

Early winter conditions on the North Shore made the early launch possible, but there are concerns El Nino, which is forecast to bring a wave of warm weather across Canada this winter, could turn that around.

Last season, mountains were forced to close early because of warm temperatures and heavy rainfall, but Grouse Mountain spokeswoman Julia Grant said they’re optimistic this season will be different.

“We’re feeling pretty good about the upcoming season. The last strong El Nino year we had was the 97/98 season, and we saw over 500 centimetres of snow that year,” Grant said. “So we’re pretty excited for the upcoming year.”

Cypress has a base of about 40 centimetres, which staff say is more than they had at any point last season.

Whistler Mountain opened Thursday with five lifts running, while Blackcomb is expected to open on Nov. 26 as previously scheduled.

In the Interior, Big White near Kelowna and Sun Peaks outside Kamloops have also both already opened up for skiers and snowboarders.

Source: CTV News Vancouver