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Ready, set, ski? Here's how the season is shaping up so far

There are two types of people in Western New York: those who grumble when the snow piles up and those who celebrate.

Yes, snow means slower commutes and early morning shoveling. But it also means swooshing down the slopes and carving tracks in fresh powder.

So how much longer will you have to wait before you can strap on your skis or snowboard? And what kind of start can you expect this season?

Probably a while longer, unless you're willing to drive to the Finger Lakes region.

"We're ready to go. Our lifts are ready to go. Our team is ready to go. We're just waiting patiently for the Buffalo weather to arrive and be consistent so we can open and stay open," said Rachel Fanelli, a Kissing Bridge spokesperson.

Here's what some of our local ski resorts are looking at.

Bristol Mountain

If you're ready to hit the slopes, it's off to Bristol Mountain you go. The Canandaigua ski area is hoping to open two trails by noon Thursday, to run for the weekend and to close midweek next week when more moderate temperatures hit. Bristol will make a final decision about its opening Thursday morning and urges skiers to check its website and Facebook page to make sure the hill will be ready to go by noon.

Skiing this week will be available to advanced skiers only.

Bristol has nearly doubled its stable of snow-making equipment and began creating snow Monday night. Its strategy is to concentrate snowmaking efforts on its signature trails and make more snow per square foot. It received 4 to 6 inches of natural snow Tuesday.

"With a lot of the climate change that we're starting to experience, we're kind of making believe we're in Virginia instead of Upstate New York," said Dan Fuller, general manager at Bristol Mountain.

Holiday Valley Ski Resort

The Ellicottville resort started making snow Nov. 7, and another 9 inches of natural snow fell over the past 48 hours.

Weather conditions through next week will be ideal for snowmaking, the resort said.

It's shooting for a Nov. 29 opening.

Ryan McKenyon tends to a snow gun at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville. Their automated snow gun system makes huge piles of snow. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Kissing Bridge

The Glenwood resort began making snow last Thursday and has received 6 to 8 inches of natural snow since Friday. It is hoping to open by the second week of December, or at least a week ahead of Christmas.

"We're making snow around the clock as long as temperatures permit," Rachel Fanelli said.


It will be the first year back in business for the Cherry Creek ski area since a fire devastated its operations in 2011. The resort started making snow Tuesday and wants to get conditions just right now that construction is complete, according to general manager Jason Spain.

"We need to take a little time to fine-tune," he said.

No opening date has been set yet, but Spain expects an early- to mid-December opening. While conditions are good now, warmer days are coming that would make an earlier opening a bad idea, he said.

New this year: The resort has added a snowmobile adventure park, with two timber runs and several acres for open play at the top of the hill.

Peek’n Peak Resort

The ski resort in Clymer has not yet started making snow and is bracing for temps in the 40s next week. It is aiming for a Dec. 14 opening and will likely begin making snow the first week of December.

The resort received a foot of natural snow in the past 48 hours, according to its conditions report.

HoliMont Ski Club

The Ellicottville ski area began making snow Friday and received more than 8 inches of snow earlier this week. It hopes to take advantage of the cold temperatures predicted through Saturday and pile up more snow. It's anticipating a Dec. 13 opening.

HoliMont is a private ski area but is open to the public on weekdays. It's open only to members on weekends.

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