The early snow and cold weather have a Barrie-area ski resort firing up its chairlifts Saturday for the earliest opening in over 20 years.
Horseshoe Resort, around 130 kilometres north of Toronto, has some of its runs ready. The hill will open for the 2018-19 winter season at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"Mother nature gave us some great cold weather so we were able to run the snow-making system at full capacity," said Jonathan Reid, vice-president of ski resorts at Skyline Investments, which owns the ski hill.
Snow-making crews have been blasting snow guns all week because the temperatures dipped below freezing.
A low-pressure system that rolled through southern Ontario Thursday brought around 13 centimetres of snow, the resort said — creating a cozy layer for hill-goers to bomb on opening day.
"We have a lot of snow on the hill and it's going to be mid-season conditions," Reid said.
The last time Horseshoe Resort welcomed guests this early was in 1995.
"This is really great for the entire winter tourism industry in Ontario," said Reid.
For now, the hill is only open on weekends. Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
There will be limited terrain ready. At least four of Horseshoe Resort's 28 trails will be open.
Other ski hills, like the popular Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ont., have yet to set an opening date.