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Break out the downhill boards: Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area opens on Saturday

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Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 12:14 am | Updated: 12:09 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — 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.

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