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It’s time to gear up for ski season 0

By Kristen Smith, Special to QMI Agency

Hundreds showed up at local ski hills Saturday for opening day. (KRISTEN SMITH, The Packet & Times)

Hundreds showed up at local ski hills Saturday for opening day. (KRISTEN SMITH, The Packet & Times)

Anthony Boyd is learning to snowboard and he’s not wasting any time.

The eight-year-old Barrie boy hit the slopes for the first time at Mount St. Louis Moonstone on opening day Saturday.

“I thought it would be fun,” said Boyd, whose older brother has snowboarded for a number of years.

It’s not easy, but Boyd, who likes winter sports, isn’t going to give up.

His father, Adam, said all three of his boys were interested in snowboarding this year.

“It’ll keep them busy after school,” said Adam.

Horseshoe Resort and Hardwood Ski and Bike also opened Saturday for the winter season.

Hardwood has three trails open on Old Barrie Road in Oro-Medonte Township.

Horseshoe has started the season with two of 27 runs, 15 kilometres of groomed Nordic trails and 10 kilometres of snowshoe trails.

“Mother Nature has been kind and the conditions have been better than expected for snowmaking, so we’re excited to welcome our ski-season guests a bit earlier this year at Horseshoe,” Sean Billing, general manager, said in a news release.

He noted it is an ideal start to the resort’s 50th anniversary.

Jonathan Reid, director of snow sports, said the base was down to 35 centimetres from 40 after Sunday’s rain and the Nordic trails have since closed, but runs are open full-time. He noted Horseshoe plans to start making snow again today.

“We had a really busy day… I think a lot of anxious people that didn’t get out last year were out right away this year,” said Reid, who estimated 500 people hit the resort Saturday.

Mount St. Louis Moonstone general manager Robert Huter said he is pleased to have runs open much earlier than last year’s Dec. 17 start to the season.

“Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going,” said Huter, who noted the annual target is to open the last weekend of November or the first of December.

“If we see a period were we get 24 to 36 hours of cold weather, we will start making some snow,” said Huter, who noted the runs should be 75% open by the Christmas holidays.

With an average base of 30 centimetres, Mount St. Louis Moonstone had four of 36 runs open and one terrain park ready for opening day Saturday.

They opened again Sunday and will reopen again Friday for the rest of the season.

Huter estimated 500 people were on the hill Saturday morning.

“The keeners are out… the ones that just live for snow,” said Huter.

Toronto resident Michael Mikolainis is one of them.

“I’m here every year on the first day,” said Mikolainis, who thought he would continue the 10-year tradition.

“I’ve been waiting all summer for it,” said the 16-year-old skier.

kristen.smith@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @journokristen

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