It's what skiers and snowboarders have been waiting for. Friday was the perfect opening day for ski mountains.
For the last two days, Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort has been making snow, and as expected, opening day in Middlefield with season pass holders was a little different compared to last year.
"We've added a lot of outdoor heated spaces. Our deck is now heated. We have a winter beer garden tent we've added," said Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort President and CEO Sean Hayes. "Big change in the downstairs lodge for skiers is no bags allowed. We're doing a complimentary bag check, so the personal belongings aren't allowed inside."
Hayes said they eliminated more than 60% of tables in their restaurant and cafeteria. Masks are required, and outdoor capacity is capped at 50%. Hayes said it's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay safe.
"You can't ask for a better activity. We're wearing hats, gloves, masks, goggles, and wearing a 6-foot ski to keep our distance," said Hayes.
"I'm excited. I haven't gone skiing in a while, so it's going to be fun to get back out there," said 12-year-old Ryan Miller.
"The balancing part is the hardest, but it's also the funnest to try to balance," said 12-year-old Rebecca Miller.
At Ski Mount Southington, it was a sold-out opening day. Ryan and Rebecca were happy to have their gear on and didn't mind the extra precautions.
"I think wearing a mask is actually a lot warmer," said Rebecca.
The ski mountain in Plantsville moved its main food service from the cafeteria to a walk-up window. Two food trucks were added and bathrooms were placed throughout the area. Indoor and outdoor capacity was cut in half.
"Our building capacities are at 50% of what they normally would be. So we're encouraging people to use their cars as the base lodge. We're limiting time for people in our base lodge that way everybody can get a chance to warm up a little bit," said Ski Mount Southington General Manager Jay Dougherty.
Snowboarder James Miller said he's glad the mountain is open. With the cold weather forecast for the next several days, he plans on coming back soon.
"Even though we're not at full capacity, the lines are not as busy. And it's almost a nicer ski season," said Miller.
Snow tubing begins next weekend at Powder Ridge.