Thanks to an abundance of snow

Ready, set, ski

Get ready to put on your ski boots, because Panorama Mountain Village is opening early this year. *Edited November 27

Get ready to put on your ski boots, because Panorama Mountain Village is opening early this year.

Beginning on December 5, Panorama will be offering “Sneak-a-Peak-Week,” which will allow prospective skiers and snowboarders the chance for an early look at the mountain on a few select runs, ahead of the full opening date on December 9. The unusually early start date is thanks to an abundance of snow, according to Panorama marketing co-ordinator Jamie Hurschler.

“We’ve had absolutely amazing snow conditions over the last couple of weeks,” Hurschler said. “We just didn’t want to keep all the snow to ourselves.”

Visitors to Panorama this year will likely notice a number of improvements to both ski hills and amenities offered at Panorama Mountain Village. A number of popular runs have seen improvements, including widening on particular runs, offering an enhanced ski experience for those planning on hitting the slopes this season, and a new tube park is set to open December 22, 2011 following the success of last years tobogganing run. In addition, over $1 million worth of repairs and refurbishment have been made to the Pine Inn Hotel to enhance visitor experience.

“We’re always working on elevating visitor experience,” Hurschler said. “We’re constantly building up the facilities and activities to help keep families busy in the evening after their last runs of the day.”

Also new this season are four themed festivals, taking place once a month on weekends throughout the season from January to April. The first such festival, the Panorama Snowflake Festival, taking place January 20-22, 2012, is designed to complement the Invermere Snowflake Festival, and will include free tobogganing on the Friday night for all lodging guests and valley residents, as well as a parade, food and drink specials, live music, and plenty of themed activities throughout the weekend for the entire family. Other festivals include Panorama Mardi Gras, February 24-26, The Panorama Stampede March 16-18, and Panorama’s Spring Carnival April 6-9.

“The festivals really add to the family experience,” Hurschler said. “It’s a way of giving more things for families to do … (as well as) celebrating different times of the season and enjoying what Panorama has to offer.”

Panorama has also been home to a number of National race teams since the beginning of November, including the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, as well as teams from countries such as Slovenia, Russia and the United States. These teams, among others, will participate in a number of races throughout the season, and spectators and volunteers are always welcome, with several, “perks,” available to those who volunteer with race events.

Also returning this year will be the Panorama Snow School, which offers a number of programs to help people of all ages become more accustomed to both their activity of choice and the mountain in general. Snow School director Jason Simpson returns for his second year, as well as a large return rate of instructors from last year who Hurschler says, “really know the mountain.”

“We encourage anyone who’s coming to the mountain, especially for the first time to go out with an instructor,” Hurschler said. “It will give you the confidence right at the beginning of the season to know where you should be on the mountain, and will make your season much better than having a very timid approach to start.”

Finally, Panorama’s full complement of regular activities, including weekly family activities, holiday events and activities, guided tours, day bus trips, snowmobile adventures and heliski trips among others all make their return for what should be a busy season for Panorama Mountain Village.

“We’re really excited,” Hurschler said. “There are tons of events and activities, and it’s going to be an exciting season, especially with all the snow we’ve had.”

For more information on Panorama Mountain Village, visit www.panoramaresort.com, or call 1-800-663-2929 or 1-250-342-6941.

*Story was edited November 27, as lift tickets are not required to watch races.

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