Swiss Valley opens for the season

After weeks of waiting, there's finally enough snow for folks to hit the slopes.

Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area opened up its lifts for the first time this season Sunday.

"It feels great," said avid snowboarder Mika Farinella. "I love the gliding on the snow. I've been waiting for this all year."

But, folks like Mika had to wait a little longer this year to head over to the hills.

Because of the mostly mild winter, Swiss Valley had to wait until last week to make snow; they need at least 36 inches to form a base.

The delay in opening meant, for the second year in a row, the popular destination missed out on some big business.

"Christmas week is always a real big nugget, and we missed that entirely," said owner James Wiseman. "So, you just move on."

Wiseman hopes opening day is a sign of what's to come.

Although the advanced hill was closed so it could be covered in more snow, upwards of 1,000 people showed up to run through the other courses.

"I can't believe we had a full parking lot and only half of the area open," Wiseman said. "It feels good to see that -- and nobody's complaining."

Swiss Valley stays open through February, but only if Mother Nature allows.

Wiseman says crews will make their own snow everyday to help keep a thick layer of snow on the ground.

"We start up after everyone goes home," he said. "A crew comes in until 10 and they run until 8 in the morning."

Swiss Valley's advanced hill will open Monday, after getting a heavy dusting of man-made snow.

They'll be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, then again from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a special New Year's Eve ski celebration.


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