Some dedicated souls spent the night outside the Whistler Village Gondola to ensure they were one of the first up the hill, and by 7:30 a.m. the line snaked along the Village Stroll past the Lululemon store, said Tabetha Boot, Whistler Blackcomb's (WB) communications manager.
The excitement reached a fever pitch as WB officials led a countdown to opening at about 8:15 a.m.
“Everybody was screaming and hooting and hollering,” Boot said. “It was definitely exciting.”
More skiers and boarders were lined up at the Creekside Gondola. But the lineups dissipated quickly, with no long waits after about 9 a.m., Boot added.
Opening day also started with an Olympic twist as Maelle Ricker, local gold medal Olympian in snowboard cross, was presented with a WB lifetime season pass and the first ride up the Village Gondola.
With a huge crowd of eager skiers and boarders cheering on, WB COO Dave Brownlie presented Ricker with the pass.
By all accounts it was a great first day on the local slopes. “Everybody was in really high spirits and just excited to get on the snow and sliding again, Boot said.
The first runs of the season came six days early, with the official opening scheduled for Nov. 25. WB officials credited heavy snowfall over the past week and the boost of over 180 snow guns for the early opening.
Five lifts are currently open on Whistler: Whistler Village Gondola, Creekside Gondola, Emerald Express, Big Red Express and Franz's Chair. Blackcomb Mountain is set to open on Nov. 25.