It won’t be knee-, or even ankle-deep powder, but for downhill skiers and snowboarders in Fairbanks it’s better than nothing.
Assuming the temperature is warmer than 20 degrees below zero — keep your fingers crossed — Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area on Fort Wainwright will open for the season on Saturday at noon with a combination of natural and man-made snow.
The ski area will feature half-day rates on lift tickets and rental equipment to celebrate opening day.
Manager Nicholas Pulice said two of the area’s three main runs — Arctic Warrior and Showboat — will be open on Saturday and there will be a few features set up for snowboarders to play on.
Thanks to snowmaking efforts the past two weeks, the hill has a packed, 2- to 3-inch base, Pulice said.
“Skiers can expect good groomed trails to start off,” he said.
The tubing hill won’t open for a couple more weeks, Pulice said. Groomers are still in the process of putting in the tubing hill, half-pipe and terrain park features, he said.
The ski area also purchased new rental equipment this year, including Rossignol and Volkl skis and Burton snowboards and snowboard boots.