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Area ski resorts plan snow-making, open slopes in next 1-2 weeks

They're praying for snow.

And, if those prayers are answered, at least a pair of area ski resorts say they'll open by the first week of December.

The first place to grab a chance at the slopes could be in Ellicottville.

Holiday Valley already made mounds of snow last week and is gearing up for more snow-making through next week, according to Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley's marketing director.

"We're hoping to open on the day after Thanksgiving," Eshbaugh said Wednesday.

If all goes right, trails at Yodeler, Candy Cane Loop, Mardi Gras and School Haus will be open, she said.

"Ideally, we'd like to have 12 inches of base as soon as possible," Eshbaugh said.

About an inch of snow is possible by late Thursday across Cattaraugus County, including Ellicottville. (National Weather Service)

Ellicottville will be the spot to find a white landscape on Thursday. Forecasts show that about an inch of snow is forecast to fall through Thursday night behind a cold front.

Then, overnight Saturday, rain associated with a deep storm system is expected to turn over to snow. Lake-effect snow is expected most of Sunday and Sunday night.

Meanwhile, farther west, at Peek'n Peak in Clymer, they're ready to start the season, too. But, it probably won't be until early December, according to Brad Gravink, the resort's director of operations. Gravink said crews plan to start making snow with machines at Peek'n Peak after the snow starts flying Sunday.

Any chance of opening for Thanksgiving weekend?

"From the weather report I'm getting right now, I don't think that's doable," Gravink said. "We're looking at the following weekend — the 1st, 2nd and 3rd (of December)."

That would still be about a week earlier than Peek'n Peak's average opening, Gravink said.

They'll open 11 trails at first for the starting weekend, then eventually another 11 and then their remaining three, he added.

At Kissing Bridge in Glenwood, they started making snow late last week, ski operators reported. There was no word yet about when the ski slopes might open.

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