ELLICOTTVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the snow starts to fall at Holiday Valley and the COVID-19 restrictions at the Canadian border lifted, officials at the ski resort are gearing up for a big season.

As Western New York gets ready for its first blast of snow for the season, our local ski resorts are firing up their snow machines.

Dash Hegeman is the marketing director for Holiday Valley and said their looking at November 25 as their tentative opening date. And with COVID-19 travel restrictions dropped at the border, he said Canadians are buying up season passes.

“As long as it gets cold the snowmaking team, the mountain crew can do an incredible job with what they’ve got to work with,” Hegeman said.

“Really encouraging, we’ve seen with our season pass sales, more Canadians starting to make purchases and planning to be back this winter,” added Hegeman. “I certainly think we’re expecting to see more visitation from our friends up north.”

Holiday Valley began testing its snow-making equipment this week.

They plan to start covering the slopes this weekend in preparation for opening day.

Spencer Timkey is the third-generation owner of The Boardroom Snowboard Shop in Ellicottville.

He said with Old Man Winter knocking on our door and Canadians starting to trickle in, business is picking up.

“Shopping local is so important in any industry, but especially in specialty retail, like skiing and snowboarding,” said Timkey. “You know you can buy the stuff online and we get that, but to get the experience and expertise, shopping local is huge.”

So whether you’re crossing the border or just heading down the road, snow will certainly be falling in Western New York.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.