Yosemite's ski area, formerly known as Badger Pass, opens early

YOSEMITE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Snowboarders and skiers could celebrate a white Christmas as they head to Yosemite National Park.

The ski area formally known as Badger Pass opened on Thursday morning.

Folks usually come to Yosemite to see Half Dome and El Capitan, not many know that inside is one of the state's oldest ski areas.

With the recent snow, the Yosemite Ski area opened on Thursday, and it's the earliest it's opened in years.

"This is pretty wild, it seems like a great addition to a national park," said one visitor.

It's that time of year to grab your skis and hit the slopes as the Yosemite Ski and Snow area opens for the season.

"I just retired. I told my wife this is my year to be a ski bum, so it's going to happen," said visitor Sean Costello.

Opening day brought dozens of people to the national park to enjoy the runs.

As Benjamin Steele gets ready to hop on the lift, he says stopping to snowboard wasn't originally part of his Yosemite adventure.

"I was going to hug a big tree, I heard they have some big sequoias around here. And took a turn at the road - didnt even know this existed - found myself riding for a few hours," steele said.

For those who weren't on the slopes, the snow was just as exciting.

Formally known as Badger Pass, this is the earliest the ski area's opened in years.

That's a big difference from last year, when marketing manager Lisa Cesaro says the area stayed closed because there wasn't enough snow.

"The forecast next week calls for more additional snow, and so we'll take it day by day. Its off to a great start and we expect to see some more snowfall," Cesaro said.

Skiers are also hoping snow will stick around.

"Usually I want 20 feet of snow, but just give me average that's all I need, that's all I want," said Costello.

If the snow keeps coming, visitors will have until the end of March to enjoy the runs, or throw some snowballs.

There is a chance the national park will be affected with the possibility of a partial government shutdown on Friday, but Cesaro says they're working with the park service and plan to be open and operate as usual.
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