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Three weeks late, Mohawk is open

CORNWALL — The snow guns were turned off at Mohawk Mountain ski area Saturday, Dec. 17, after a frantic week spent getting the mountain ready to (finally) open for the season.Four trails and three lifts opened at 8:30 a.m. , three weeks after the target opening date. Not a flake of snow was provided by Mother Nature for the slopes, but recent cold nights have allowed crews to lay down a good base, which was groomed to packed-powder perfection.The crowds soon arrived, with opening day coinciding with the annual First Experience Day. Anyone age 5 or older was invited for a free introduction to skiing or snowboarding that included a lift ticket, equipment rental and lessons. As crowded as it seemed, Director of Guest Services Trish Morrissey said it was actually a little slower than usual for opening day. “People sort of go by what they see in their yard. If there’s no snow, they figure we’re not open yet,” Morrissey said.Real-time conditions are always available at www.mohawkmtn.com, which now includes online registration. Rental equipment will be ready and waiting for those who log in first. New, as well, is a webcam aimed at the triple lift and main slopes. At the lodge Saturday, a new downstairs rental area debuted. The process of filling out paperwork (and having to hang on to that paperwork on the slopes) and waiting for someone to find the right boots and skis is a thing of the past. Skiers and boarders can log in on terminals at one of four manned stations. Their rental needs are registered. Everything is barcoded. What used to be a tedious process was whittled down to an average of six minutes per person on its very first day in use, according to Morrissey. Even employees working on their first day found the system easy to master.There is little in the way of significant snowfall predicted at the moment, but the forecast is great for snowmaking, Snow guns will be going all night, every night. That’s welcome news for skiers — and for seasonal employees who have been waiting for that weekly paycheck.

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