Canada’s earliest opening day?

Canada’s earliest opening day?

Powder King set to surprise everyone with an October opening

DOC POW

Powder King opening day 2011
A photo taken on Black Forest Trail, on October 17th, 2011.
Photo courtesy of Sam Ens

Editor's note: The tentative scheduled opening for Powder King Mountain Resort been pushed back, and the resort is hoping for an early November opening. Stay tuned to the SnowSeekers Facebook page for the latest updates. When we know, you'll know.

PRINCE GEORGE, BC — In Canada, we're blessed with incredible snowbound opportunities. Did you know that you can literally ski about 280 days a year? After Sunshine Village closes for the season after May's long weekend, you can head on out to Whistler Blackcomb and go glacier skiing through the summer.

In terms of  openings, Albertans are spoiled, with most of the major destinations opening in early November (click here for our AB and BC Opening Day list). Powder King, just outside of Prince George, BC, is working on trumping everyone. "If Mother Nature’s kind enough to sprinkle some snow this way we’ll be ready to open on October 29," explained Sam Ens, who works with the mountain and was featured in last year’s SnowSeekers Snow Show episode.

It was last year that Powder King expanded its skiable terrain with the addition of the "Black Forest," a gnarly area with full of epic glades and intermediate terrain. But the mountain ran into some challenges in fall 2010.

"We just simply couldn’t get all the work in we wanted to do, as the snow came in faster than any one of us expected. We physically couldn't get a groomer down some of those runs. But now, with the clearing we’ve done, we are prepared for a much earlier opening."  

Bummer for them but great for us snow seekers. I remember hitting this area last year—it hadn’t snowed in three or four days but we were finding fresh pow tracks all day. As I said in that article, "it’s like skiing or snowboarding on cream cheese."

Expanded runs, improved grooming

"We’ve done a bunch of work this summer in the Black Forest. We had excavators and lots of bodies in there all summer grooming it out and making it what we had envisioned."

The Black Forest is accessed off their alpine T-Bar, so all of this terrain is raised up from the resort base. "Our plans are to open the forest first and have one run to get our guests back to the lift and over to the t-bar."

Powder King opening day 2011
Taken on Black Forest Trail, this photo shows the development and earthworks that took place at Powder King over the summer.
Photo courtesy of Sam Ens

But it’s not just the general public who’s taking notice of the King’s early offerings. With the exception of last season, Canada’s Ski Cross team have been spending their precious pre-season training on the slopes of Powder King. "The big draw for the national teams is they want to come back and ride some of our legendary powder."  

Ens and his team have enhanced the skier/boarder cross course this summer as well, which should make for a challenging experience for the cross team. They'll also have a "watered down" version for the rest of us.

Keep your eyes tuned to SnowSeekers. We’ll be sure to give you the dish when Powder King confirms its opening.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more Ski & Snowboard Cross news in Western Canada, click here to learn about what Lake Louise's Evolve Ski & Snowboard Cross Club is up to for the 2011/12 season.

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