Employees at the Canyon Ski Resort were working hard on Wednesday to open the ski hills to the public for Nov. 8th at 5 p.m. The resort is the first in Western Canada to open this season. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort becomes first ski resort in Western Canada to open

Ski resort general manager said most hills will remain open to the public during Canada Winter Games

The recent cold weather has made it possible for the Canyon Ski Resort to open early this year, making it the first ski resort in Western Canada to open for the season.

The hills will be open today from 5 to 9 p.m. for those looking to get an early start on a short evening ski, said the resort’s General Manager David Martel.

“It’s a pretty great accomplishment to keep up with those big mountain resorts,” he said. “At the end of the day, we all belong to the Canada West Ski Areas Association, so it is just good bragging rights. It’s gratifying to know that our hard work has paid off.”

The Limited Terrain ski hill will be open with access by the triple chair lift. The Magic Carpet beginner area will also be open. The opening lift pass is $20.

The cold weather that started around 11 p.m. on Sunday made the early opening possible, he said. The resort needs a minimum of minus two degrees Celsius to begin to make snow.

“We turned on our snow-making system and we’ve been going non-stop and the colder it gets the more water we can flow out of our snow-making guns. So those nights that we had those minus 12 degrees Celsius. They were fantastic.”

While the temperature is supposed to begin to rise again by Friday, and get up to six degrees by Tuesday, he said that won’t effect the skiing because the base of snow can maintain a cool enough temperature to not melt.

The resort’s biggest project this year, and what helped it to open early, is its partnership with the upcoming Canada Winter Games, to be held from Feb. 15th to March 3rd. Snowboarding, alpine skiing and freestyle skiing will be hosted at the resort.

The upgrades to the resort’s snow-making system took place last summer, he said. This summer, an elevator was built to make the resort accessible to everyone.

”We are able to pump more water for the snow guns, which is big,” he said. “The more we can pump, the more water we can put out onto the hill. As well as some of the earth work, it was completed the summer of 2017. It allowed us to create a new run down from the top. It is narrower of a run. It requires less snow to open than our other one.”

The resort will be open to the public during the Canada Winter Games, but certain ski hills will be closed for the competitions.

Email news tips to Robin Grant

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