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For Dry Hill, ski season starts early

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For the first time since 2008, Dry Hill Ski Area opened for the season on Thanksgiving weekend.

“Usually we open for Thanksgiving weekend every four or five years. ... We’ve already skied two days; that’s what’s exciting about it. Even with a little moderation next week, the weather after that is looking good,” Timothy L. McAtee, owner of the seven-trail ski and snowboarding facility, said Saturday.

The facility opened for the season on Friday. Snowboarding director David G. Parker estimated a couple hundred people had turned out during the first two days.

“Everyone’s had a long summer. I know, myself, you just want to get back on the board or the skis. They want to get back out there. They’ve got the itch,” Mr. Parker said.

“They seem really happy to have such an early season,” snowboarding school supervisor Brett E. Ramus added.

“I think it’s really nice that we had a bunch of snow. It gets a lot of people out so people can catch up a little before the season gets more crazy,” said Terje M. Wells, 12, of Watertown. Terje was snowboarding with Seth Nans, 12, Sackets Harbor, who had donned skis.

“I think it’s great. There’s nothing better,” Seth said.

“It’s awesome. It’s my favorite thing to do,” said Jordan Shavit, 16, Carthage. Jordan started snowboarding at Dry Hill at 10 a.m. Saturday and still was there at 4 p.m. “I come here a lot; me and my friends come here all the time. It’s something to do. It’s closer than everywhere else,” he said.

Of course, not all trails officially are open. Only the popular “Wagon” trail has been opened, as it has the necessary 4 to 6 feet of snow.

But the extended forecast looks cold and snowy, and the facility intends to open its tubing park Dec. 14. The ski area started making snow there Friday night.

“I don’t believe we made snow in the tubing park before Dec. 1, ever,” Mr. McAtee said.

Mr. McAtee said he believes the season is off on the right track, and he encourages skiers and snowboarders to take advantage of season passes.

“When you’re open this early with this much manmade snow, it’s certainly worth it,” he said.

An individual season pass is $245 with discounts for each additional family member. The season passes can be used for free skiing and snowboarding at McCauley Mountain, 300 McCauley Mountain Road, Old Forge, on Mondays and at Snow Ridge Ski Resort, 4173 West Road, Turin, on Wednesdays.

Dry Hill Ski Area, 18160 Alpine Ridge Road, is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; from noon to 10 p.m. Fridays, with a noon to 5 p.m. shift after the holidays; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Once the tubing park opens for the season, tubing will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Additional details are available at www.skidryhill.com.

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