WHISTLER, Canada, November 18, 2004: Whistler Blackcomb prepares to kick off its winter season with the announcement that Blackcomb Mountain will open early on Saturday, November 20. Whistler Mountain will open on Thursday, November 25.

25 cm of snow has fallen in the past 48 hours, with a forecasted 5 to 10 cm expected to fall during the remainder of today. Blackcomb Mountain’s extensive snowmaking operation is aiding Mother Nature to ensure the greatest amount of terrain possible can open on Saturday.

Blackcomb will be operating Jersey Cream Express and Catskinner Chairs with uploading and downloading via Wizard Express and Solar Coaster Express. Open runs will include Wishbone, Choker, Upper Springboard, Upper Ross’ Gold, Upper Cruiser and Cougar Milk. Eight rails will be featured at the top of Solar Coaster. Rendezvous, Glacier Creek Lodge, Wizard Grill and Merlin’s will all be open serving snacks, meals and drinks to fuel the day on the slopes.

“We’re excited to get Blackcomb open and to get this season started,� says Stuart Rempel, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Whistler Blackcomb.

Skiers and riders are reminded to expect early season conditions, with limited terrain open – ideal for intermediate ability level and above. “Our mountain conditions change so quickly at this time of the year,� reminds Rempel. “What skiers and riders remember was filled in last year, is likely not as filled in this early in the season. It’s important to play it safe during these early days on the mountain and watch out for unmarked hazards.�

Early season pricing is in effect. One-day adult lift tickets are $39, senior and youth tickets are $29 and children 7 to 12 years are $19. Kids six and under ski and ride free. Hours of operation are from 8:30am to 3pm with the last upload at 2pm. Season Passes and Edge Cards are available for pickup and purchase at both Village and Blackcomb Daylodge Guest Relations.

“It’s a great time to warm up for what promises to be a big year,� says Rempel. “This season we’ll introduce 1,100 acres of new terrain on Whistler Mountain, unveil a fully redeveloped Creekside base, host the 2005 FIS Snowboard World Championships presented by Nokia in January, and launch a Superpipe lit for night skiing and riding on Blackcomb Mountain.�

The forecast for the weekend is calling for a mix of sun and cloud for Saturday and Sunday with a 30 per cent chance of flurries on Sunday. The current snow depth, as measured at the Pig Alley Weather Plot on Whistler measures 98 cm or 38.5 inches deep.

To celebrate the season opening, Whistler Blackcomb sponsors the annual Freeze Factor event on November 19. Co-ed teams of two people will stand in the lift line for 24 hours. Teams compete in challenges and rewards throughout the 24 hours with the goal being to be the last team standing at 8am Saturday morning. The winning team members will receive a Whistler Blackcomb Season Pass each and be granted the privilege of riding the first chair of the season up the mountain.

For further information on what’s on at Whistler Blackcomb this season, including special accommodation package prices, log on to whistlerblackcomb.com or call 1-866-218-9690.