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Whiteface pushes opening day to Dec. 4; Van Ho opens for Nordic skiing today

The state Olympic Regional Development Authority’s Michael Battisti tries out the groomed ski trails at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Dec. 2, 2013, another year when the facility opened earlier than usual — Nov. 29 that year. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — Due to warm weather conditions, state Olympic Regional Development Authority officials will open the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center a week later than expected, spokesperson Elise Ruocco said Wednesday. However, the Lake Placid Nordic Center at Mount Van Hoevenberg will open for the season today.

“Our snowmaking team has been hard at work, but with the variable forecast this week, we are shifting our anticipated (Whiteface) opening day for skiing and riding to Friday, December 4,” Ruocco said in an email.

The original opening date for was today, but ORDA officials decided Tuesday afternoon to hold off until colder weather sets in next week.

Snowmaking began at Whiteface on Nov. 17, later than last year due to warmer temperatures in November. A year ago, the ski center opened on Nov. 15.

At this time, access to the mountain on Dec. 4-6 will be limited to those who have a season pass or are using the first day of their Frequent Skier Card, according to the ski center’s website. “Availability of additional tickets including e-tickets and Frequent Skier Card reloads will be determined based upon conditions and availability of terrain next week,” the website stated Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Oct. 18 that not only would ski resorts have to reduce indoor capacity by 50%, but they would also have to reduce outdoor capacity by 25% on peak days or when multiple ski trails are closed.

Anyone who visits the ski center will be required to do a health screening through an app.

Up-to-date information for visitors will be constantly added to the authority’s website, and new signage will be posted, including electronic signage.

Masks will be required at all times except when eating, drinking or skiing, according to the governor’s office. Social distancing is also required. Only members of the same party will be allowed to ride the gondola or the lifts together. Ski lessons will be limited to 10 people, and all shared equipment will be sanitized between each use.

The authority will utilize RFID technology that was installed at the ski center last year, which can scan tickets while the tickets are still in skiers’ pockets. This technology is common at ski resorts across the world but hadn’t been implemented at ORDA’s facilities until recently.

For more information, visit https://whiteface.com.

ORDA announced on Wednesday evening that while opening day at Whiteface would be delayed, the Nordic Ski Center at Mount Van Hoevenberg would be opening Friday, Nov. 27. Much like Whiteface, tickets must be purchased in advance, and they’re limited because capacity at the facility is limited.

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Staff Writer Elizabeth Izzo contributed to this report.

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