Hitting the slopes

Horst Locher, manager of the Ski School at Bryce Resort, stands along this section of Red Eye trail on Friday in Basye. The resort has had favorable weather for snow making and will open today. Rich Cooley/Daily

Bryce Resort in Basye will be opening its slopes this weekend.

Doug Grayson, the resort’s marketing director, said the opening “is about three weeks ahead of schedule.”

To put that into perspective, he explained that the park opened around Dec. 20 in 2012. Last year, early cold temperatures made it possible to open Thanksgiving weekend.

Grayson said the resort had planned a tentative opening date of Dec. 13. However, conditions in the past week made it possible for the early opening.

“Because of the exceptionally cold temperatures, we were able to get an early jump on [the snow making],” Grayson said.

The key weather-related aspects of snow making are temperature and humidity. Since the weather in the past week met those conditions, Grayson said they decided to expedite the process.

Throughout this past week, the resort had teased its snow-making efforts by posting photos on its Facebook page.

Grayson said the slopes will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays – with the exception of Black Friday — until the skiing season officially kicks off on Dec. 13.

In addition to an early opening, visitors will be treated to discounted rates on ski rentals and lift tickets. The cost of both is $55, which is lower than seasonal costs that total more than $100.

Grayson also said that the resort “redid the snow making on the Redeye Trail.” This included replacing pipes from the 1970s in order to allow the resort to pump more air and water for snow making.

This early opening is also conveniently timed with the resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, which Grayson said kicks off in late December.

“I wish I could say that it was [planned], but sometimes you just get lucky,” Grayson said.

In honor of the upcoming celebration, the resort unveiled a new logo for the anniversary on its Facebook page on Monday.

The resort is in the process of finalizing plans for the celebration. However, Grayson added that fans should have plenty of reasons to be excited with 50 unique events being planned for the 50th anniversary celebration.

Those events, according to Grayson, will occur throughout the year and include such events as special golf tournaments and ski races.

Grayson said the official start of the anniversary will coincide with the resort’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.

This year, New Year’s Eve at the resort will include a torchlight parade of skiers as well as a fireworks display for visitors.

He added that one particular event the resort is planning after that is a mountain bike race down the slopes in February.

The resort plans to make more snow if the weather is cold enough this weekend.  The National Weather Service is calling for a low of 33 today, but rain on Sunday. Despite that forecast, Grayson remains confident about the upcoming weekend.

“We’re confident that the snow we’ve made is good-quality snow … and that [it] will hold through the rain,” Grayson said.

Overall, Grayson is optimistic that this weekend will be a good opportunity for both the resort and visitors.

“It’s a good time to get out there and experience the snow.”

The resort will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Those times will apply to the weekends — and Black Friday — leading up to Dec. 13, when the resort will resume its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com