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Eaglecrest opens early for the 2011-2012 ski season
Published: 11/30/2011 21:00:00
Eaglecrest opened early last weekend to a full mountain with the most snow of any ski area in the country.

According to Eaglecrest General Manager Matt Lillard, this is one of the strongest openings the area has had in a few years: "First weekend; first day of the first weekend has been a fantastic turn out. I think it'll be one of the better opening weekends we've had in a long time. A November opening, which we haven't had in a while; so all the new snow, lots of excited skiers and riders. The mountain operations team has been out grooming and packing the snow for the better part of a week and a half. The groomed runs are skiing out fantastic; the off piste powder runs couldn't be much better for late November. And we've even got our Porcupine beginner area open, so the little skiers and riders are coming out and learning how to ski; getting some runs underneath them before they head up on the big mountain."

The younger skiers and riders aren't the only ones experiencing Eaglecrest for the first time; this is Matt's first season as general manager of the ski area where he oversees a staff of around a hundred and thirty. He replaced Kirk Duncan who left Eaglecrest for the city public works department this past summer.

"I've always wanted to head west and north of where I was out on the east coast in Vermont, and I saw this opportunity. And I spoke about it with my wife, and did as much research as I could. It seems like a great community, focused on the outdoors and I really wanted to come give it a try" said Lillard. "I love Juneau so far. I've been here for a month, and I've seen windy and rainy, a power outage the first week here, to just oodles and oodles of snow. So I'm a much bigger fan of snow, and there's been plenty of it" he added.

The parking lot was as full as the busiest best-of-the-season days, as hundreds flocked to the combination of a new season and lots of new snow.

Friends Nick & Edwin where enjoying the slopes on the first day of the season. Nick said the snow conditions made for good skiing: "It's a little heavy, a little crusty; but it's still pretty nice; fun." Edwin added that they ride all over the mountain "anywhere we can; we find the biggest jumps and just go on them."

James Dawson has been skiing in Eaglecrest since he was two; and calls the mountain his 3rd home. "I've got big fat skies this year, and we've got lots of snow this year, and it's going to be phenomenal" he said. "I'm looking to get a lot of days on the mountain this year."

By: Mikko Wilson -