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Skiers and riders enjoyed early-season conditions at Bretton Woods this week. (COURTESY)

Slopeside with Kathleen Baglio Humphreys: Bretton Woods, Wildcat and Loon open for the season this week

Skiers and riders were thankful that Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain were open for some runs on Thanksgiving Day. A handful of additional resorts are opening today with more to follow next weekend. Let the ski season begin!

Improved snow gun technology allows resorts to open with shorter periods of cold weather, optimizing their window of opportunity to turn on the guns and lay down a solid base of snow.

Bretton Woods and Wildcat Mountain opened on Tuesday, Nov. 23, with good conditions. Bretton Woods will offer Black Friday specials, and both mountains will have Cyber Monday specials along with Attitash and Crotched Mountain.

A Pre-Thanksgiving Day treat was Loon spinning the White Mountain Express Gondola and North Peak Express with at least eight trails, 49 acres, 3 miles, and 2,100 vertical feet of top-to-bottom skiing and riding.

“Terrain on opening day will be suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders only. Snowmaking will continue around the clock as temperatures permit to open beginner terrain as quickly as possible,” said Greg Kwasnik, Loon’s communication manager.

This Saturday, Loon will host its 10th annual Cease and Desist terrain park event. This under-the-lights rail jam will feature a live DJ and a $1,000 cash purse. The competition starts at 5:30 p.m.

“Thanks to some amazing work by our snowmaking team and with a little help from low temperatures, the slopes will be open on November 27,” said Peter Sununu, Waterville Valley’s marketing communication director. “The High Country lift will be running and can be accessed by the White Peaks Quad. Guests will be able to download. No beginner terrain will be open.”

Waterville Valley will continue to make snow on High Country, Tommy’s World Cup, and the Pasture.

Cranmore will be open this weekend for tubing and mountain adventure. They are shooting for skiing, weather permitting.

“Snowmaking is going well, and the prayers for cold weather are helping,” said Gunstock’s Bill Quigley, director of marketing.

Gunstock improved its food service, snowmaking and added a new groomer to its fleet. Fat tire mountain biking is growing in popularity, and the Nordic Center at Gunstock will offer 32 miles of cross country trails and events this winter.

“Our snowmakers have had some good nights of snowmaking and are going to let the warmer days pass over the next few days,” said Lori Rowell, media director for Pats Peak Ski Area. “Then they will be able to start up the snow guns again over the weekend.”

Granite Gorge in Keene has frozen all lift ticket and season pass prices to be the same as last year, and is offering a 15 percent off-season pass for middle school students, and new this year will offer a stand-alone individual tubing season pass for $199.