Last week, Ski Mount Pakenham announced that they would be open on the weekend of the 4-5 of December. The cold nighttime temperatures allowed them to make enough snow to open up one intermediate trail (The Loop to Lower Exhibition), serviced by one quad chairlift (Mika). Their magic carpet and learning area was open as well. Below is a map of the resort with the open terrain highlighted in yellow.
The tickets were priced at 34$, and provided access to the mountain from 9am-4pm. On the drive there, the snow started falling. 2-4cm had been forecasted. The conditions quickly deteriorated, with visibility being low.
When we finally arrived at the mountain half an hour late, the busy opening day we expected turned out to be a mere 15 cars in the parking lot! An idyllic setting, large clumps of snow were falling from the sky. The snowmaking appeared to have been successful, as the snow base was advertised to be over 30cm thick. From the chairlift, the open run was nearly empty, and for our first few run, we had the mountain practically to ourselves!
The expected hard-packed run made of artificial snow now had a 3 inch layer of fluffy powder over it, making for some of the best conditions I have ever skied in. At around 11am, the snow stopped falling, but many pockets of powder still remained on the edges of the trail. Until the primary terrain park could be constructed, the mountain had built a temporary terrain park featuring two box jump features, seen below.
As the day progressed, more people ended up coming, though there was never a lift line of more than 20 seconds. The sun came out and made the conditions even more perfect. There wasn't even a pocket of ice, even on the steeper slope at the end of the run.
We were able to make 27 runs in 5 hours, breaks included, and had an amazing start to the 2021-22 ski season. I look forward to my next visit at Mount Pakenham, hopefully with more trails and lifts open!