Warwick Mother Nature didn’t cooperate this year but crews at Mt. Peter Ski Area were able to make enough snow to officially claim the title of first local ski area to open for the 2011-12 season. Thanks to crews and extra snow guns working overtime, especially late at night when temperatures were the lowest, the ski area officially opened Saturday, Dec. 24. Skiers and snow boarders enjoyed clear blue skies, bright sunlight and mild weather on 12 to 22 inches of machine-groomed packed powder. There is no difference, by the way, between machine made and natural snow. Conditions permitting, night skiing is scheduled to begin this Monday, Jan. 2. Mt. Peter, now in its 76th year of continuous operation, is well known throughout the greater metropolitan area for its friendly family atmosphere, free beginner ski and snowboard school, great snowmaking, expert grooming, a terrain park and top-notch racing and development programs. “The Friendly One,” as Mt. Peter is known, is the oldest operating ski area in New York State, and one of the few remaining family operated ski areas in the country. Each season parents can be seen toting their children to ski or snowboard for the first time, and, in many cases, they themselves had learned to ski at Mount Peter when they were their children’s age. Beginners are encouraged to take advantage of Mt. Peter’s weekend free beginner ski and snowboard lessons. Professional PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) and AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors) will take the first-time beginner up on the slopes and teach to his or her needs and age. Almost every weekend Mt. Peter hosts a special fun event for the entire family. Essential information Conditions, hours of operation, special events and other notices are reported daily on a recording at 986-4992 or by visiting www.mtpeter.com.