A heavy dump of snow uphill is helping Whistler Blackcomb open ski and snowboard season about a week early this year.

The Whistler region has had snowfall in the forecast for much of the week, and more is expected to fall when the slopes open Friday.

Staff at the mountain also said they'd had a "streak of prime snow making conditions" to add to the blanket of natural powder.

Five lifts and gondolas will be operating and 20 runs open starting at 8:30 a.m. However, as it is early in the season, the final trip uphill on the Whistler Village and Creekside gondolas leaves at 2 p.m.

The Blackcomb side of the resort and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola are scheduled to open Nov. 23.

As part of the announcement on the early opening, the resort reminded outdoor enthusiasts that areas beyond temporary boundaries set up by staff have very limited snow coverage, and that there may be hazards below the surface. Skiers and boarders are asked to watch for signs and observe slow zones.

Whistler will be open until April 22, while Blackcomb closes May 21.

The early opening at Whistler comes a week after two Metro Vancouver hills opened for the season.

Cypress and Grouse mountains opened Friday, Nov. 10 thanks to a few days of cooler-than-usual temperatures. Both hills said this year's season opening was one of the earliest on record.