Chris Smith of Auburn tends a snowgun last month at Lost Valley in Auburn. The original opening day was scheduled for Dec. 13, but the mountain will open this Friday.

AUBURN — Lost Valley is officially opening this Friday, marking the ski area’s earliest opening day in nearly four decades, according to company officials.

Lost Valley media spokesman Travis Dow said the early opening is the result of recent weather, with the right temperatures for snowmaking combined with the latest snowstorm.

Lost Valley co-owner April Shanaman said the local ski community has been “anxious to get out on the slopes this year.”

“The phones have been ringing off the hook with people wanting to know if we’re going to open early, and we’re very happy to tell them now that we are,” she said.

Lost Valley, located at 200 Lost Valley Road in Auburn, was originally scheduled to open Dec. 13, but conditions allowed that date to be bumped up a week. Snowmaking began Nov. 13, earlier than usual, with co-owner Scott Shanaman telling the Sun Journal at the time, “If we can open earlier, we will.”

Last season, the ski area opened Dec. 14.

Head groomer Erland Torrey prepares the snow on Big Buck Trail at Lost Valley in Auburn.

Dow said the opening makes Lost Valley just the third ski area to open so far this season, behind Sunday River and Sugarloaf.

Lost Valley will be open from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday and  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It will be closed Sunday for a private event.

Dow said the mountain will have at least two of its major trails open and one lift. Early season lift tickets will be half price.

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