Whistler Blackcomb ski season to start early

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      Skiers and snowboarders: if you've been counting down the days until Whistler Blackcomb opens for the 2013-14 ski season, you can stop now. It's time to make plans and get your gear packed, because Whistler Mountain is opening 13 days early.

      Whistler is ready to go on Saturday (November 16). However, Blackcomb is still set to open on U.S. Thanksgiving (November 28).

      “Early season snowfall combined with our snowmaking team converting over 60 million gallons of water into snow the past few weeks, has allowed us to get things started early again this season,” Doug MacFarlane, mountain manager at Whistler Blackcomb, said in a news release. “With all the excitement of opening day, we want to remind guests early season conditions will apply, especially off piste. It is important to obey mountain signage, ski and ride on open runs only and stay within the operational area marked by 'Temporary Boundary' signage. Guests should be aware there will be rocks and other hazards below the snow surface; we do not recommend skiing and riding outside the temporary boundary in any circumstances.”

      Uploading on the Whistler Village Gondola and Creekside Gondola kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Emerald Express, Big Red Express, and Franz chairlifts will be operational.

      For hungry skiers and riders, the Essentially Blackcomb Cappuccino Bar in the Carleton Lodge, Dusty’s Bar & Grill at Creekside, the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, and the Garibaldi Lift Co. will be serving customers.