After several false starts, Marble Mountain is open for the season — an unusual one that is not only late starting but also sternly warns ski enthusiasts on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula to stay away.
People took to the slopes Thursday, with many remarking the conditions were great.
"I'm so excited I barely slept last night," said Marble Mountain operations manager Richard Wells.
"We have world-class skiing right now.… It puts a smile on your face."
Wells says there about 15 centimetres of fresh snow fell within the last 24 hours, on top of the 90 centimetres that fell in recent days.
There are many changes, however.
Visitors need to wear masks at the base of the mountain and while waiting in line for the lifts. The day lodge is open for bathroom facilities only and people have to wear masks inside.
Rental and repair service is suspended, and so is food and beverage. People are urged to bring their own lunch and leave it in their car.
Getting to the top of the hill follows this motto: "Live Together = Ride Together," according to the rules listed by Marble Mountain on its Twitter account.
Joey Pearce and Dustin Parsons, both from Pasadena, said Day 1 has been a smashing success.
"There's so much fresh snow it's unbelievable," said Pearce.
"It feels safe. I'm happy that the hill is open and I'm happy that the situation is the way that it is."
"I don't know if there will be another day like this all year," he said.
Please, stay away if you're from the Avalon
Another major difference is that Wells is imploring people who live on the Avalon Peninsula, which remains in Alert Level 5, to stay away for now.
"Perhaps now is not the best time to travel to Marble Mountain. We welcome you when the time is right, but it has to be safe to do so, and I think most of us can agree that right now it is not safe to do so and we would, please, highly recommend, keep the rest of us safe and respect what the public health has put in place here," Wells told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning ahead of Thursday's opening.
Several passes that were purchased ended up being refunded because they were bought by people on the Avalon.
Marble Mountain is able to tell a customer's location once a pass is bought with a credit card.
Wells is imploring people to not break the rules.
"Don't be the reason we lose our season," he said.
No walk-up ski passes are being sold, and there is an outdoor ticket window so people don't have to congregate inside to get their pass.
As for White Hills in Clarenville, the board of directors will decide on March 12 if the resort will open. That's the day Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health is expected to announce whether the Avalon will move out of Alert Level 5.