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Ski your troubles away

Christina Lundov (l.), of Denmark, and Hoosier friends arrived Tuesday to test the early conditions.
Christina Lundov (l.), of Denmark, and Hoosier friends arrived Tuesday to test the early conditions.

At the top of the most-recent weekend, December 19 fell on Saturday. By all accounts, on all calendars, it was “just another Saturday” leading off “just another weekend.” But at Paoli Peaks, Saturday, Dec. 19, was the official opening day of the 2009-’10 ski season.

Bang the drums and ring the bells!

By 10 a.m., three busses had arrived, carrying skiers from Louisville, Ky., and Bloomington, Ind. By noon Sunday, families had arrived from as far away as Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Rocket scientists from Huntsville, Ala., quickly became common clientele.

Events since the weekend have seen no slow-down. Tennessee has sent representatives; ditto Ohio and Northwest Indiana – not to mention some game Australians who rolled in just a couple days prior to Saturday.

Clever marketing and, no doubt, the internet have given Paoli Peaks much more than a regional draw. Today, busses continued rolling in, with plenty more on the schedule through the next week. It will soon be Christmas Week, and there is no better time for students of all ages to put the textbooks away and “gnarl the steeze” (translation: shred the snow) of the Peaks’ ample base.

Ahh, the base... Peaks personnel can’t control the weather, but they can, and do, control snow on the ground: The area has pulled in not more than a quarter-inch of natural snow, but skiers at the Peaks are already enjoying a base of 24” to 36” of artificial snow. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all seventeen trails and eight lifts were open to skiers.

Peaks P.R. chief Vickie Lincks expects the busses and the crowds to surge into 2010 as vacations from school remain in force. Said Lincks, “Now is the time to be here: It’s early season, the snow is beautiful, and lift-lines are short, if at all. We have enough lifts to easily handle the crowds. And the crowds will definitely pick up after Christmas, through New Year’s Day, with students on their school vacations.

"We're happy, we're thrilled, with the early crowds!" she added. Schools, ski clubs, church groups, families: All categories have already gnarled that steeze, if you will.

“At our website, you can see our schedules and ticket prices,” continued Lincks. “We have one entire hill set aside solely for tubers. And we’re running ‘Midnight Madness’ skiing on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. until 3 o’clock in the morning. All the details are at our website –”

Groups of all sizes are encouraged to plan trips to the Peaks, in Paoli, Ind. As before, the Peaks’ official website provides information for planning such trips as well as phone numbers for anyone who needs to ask questions. Lessons are available to skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels, including day-one beginners.

Arrive early in the day. This Examiner has observed the quality of the snow is “very good” from rope-drop through 2:30 p.m. At that time, the snow becomes very slightly slushy, but nights are easily cold enough to restore said snow to a true “snowy state” by the next day’s rope-drop.