New ski season starts

STATELINE - Well, at least Boreal can make a claim to being the first California resort to open for the 1999-2000 ski season.

Stateline's Heavenly Ski Resort got an unexpected jump on Boreal on Thursday morning when Heavenly opened about 8 a.m., an hour earlier than Boreal's start. California's Mammoth Mountain also opened on Thursday with 8-10 inches of natural snow.

"It wasn't until early this morning that we knew we'd open. Our snowmaking crew came in and said 'Why wait?'" said Heavenly's director of communications Monica Bandows. Heavenly had intended to open today.

About 150 people were out on Heavenly's lone open run, Patsy's, which has 1,200 feet of skiable terrain and a base depth of 6-24 man-made inches. Both Patsy's Chair and the Heavenly Aerial Tram are in operation.

Lift tickets at Heavenly are currently $15 for adults, $10 for children.

Boreal, located on Donner Summit just off I-80, opened with two lifts and discounted lift tickets of $20. Mammoth Mountain also opened on Thursday with 8 to 10 inches of natural snow.

Heavenly's opening comes more than three weeks later on the calendar than last year's Oct. 18 opening day, but Bandows said Heavenly isn't overly concerned.

"The traditional start to ski season isn't until Thanksgiving," Bandows said. "Any thing before Thanksgiving is great. At this point, our weather forecasters in Reno and San Francisco are still forecasting a heavy snow year."

Alpine Meadows is set to open Nov. 19, while Northstar-at-Tahoe, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley will all open Nov. 20.


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