I remember their opening days for the past 4 years. 3 of the 4, they opened before Thanksgiving and 1 year they opened on Thanksgiving. They will open when snowmaking conditions permit. They have often closed during the week if they opened before Thanksgiving, so maybe that's what you're observing.
So you have been tracking WF. Certainly hope for a better start than last year.
My travel schedule only put me up in LP by Mon or Tue before Thanksgiving starting in 2013. So weekend openings before turkey day didn't help. This year I'll be up in Sunday River Thanksgiving week. My daughter graduated from North Country School in May (ends in 9th grade) and is in school near Boston now.
I track pretty much all the ski areas that I go to on a semi regular basis.
In tracking Whiteface, I've seen that they almost always open from LWF down, served by the gondola. Sometimes the Facelift operates too. If it's an inversion, then only the Facelift will operate, as was done in 12-13. The snowmakers were simply more productive at lower elevations, so they opened only from Facelift down. I've never seen them open for the season with gondola downloading, although it has happened if a thaw rots out the lower mountain and they want to stay open to have a continuous operation.
Not sure why they don't try and get two routes down to the LWF chair and run it, since temps are more favorable at higher elevations. It would keep more skier traffic on the upper mountain where the snow is better. I remember Z suggested opening with the Summit Quad and downloading of Facelift. I think using the gondola and LWF chair is more practical, and that section has a more favorable northern aspect (the top of Paron's Run faces south).
There have been seasons where they opened Essex on that first weekend. Northway both lower and upper is very rocky and takes a ton of snow to cover properly.
There was one season around 13 or 14 years ago they opened Wilderness first as they had an early season bump event there. It may of been before the face lift and I remember riding the old lift that stopped at mid up and having to download on it.
I also recall seasons when they opened more recently where we had to ski to the LWF and ride up to the Gondi to download. Worst start was somewhere around 2001 or 2002 when they only opened the Bear Lift and lower Valley now called Fox.
My wife is asking me if I am going to take my son up the highway this weekend after it snows.
"It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport."
Artic Explorer Fridtjof Nansen
Facelift was installed in 2002 replacing both the Valley Triple and MidStation Shuttle Lifts. The Valley Triple ran the full length and the MidStation Shuttle only ran up to the bottom of Mountain Run, providing direct access to the lodge and those lifts. Facelift doesn't have a mid station because it was too expensive on a detachable so that's why there's no direct access to that lodge anymore. While direct access to that lodge was lost, direct access to LWF was gained with the gondola. Good move IMO.
Yeh, we need rain before they can make snow!!!! Rivers are real low.
Looks like they're getting that now. Been raining all day in Potsdam and will rain more by the weekend.
Are they not allowed to draw water when the river is low? They get all their snowmaking water out of there and according to Z, they are permitted to draw significantly more than they currently do. Same goes for Gore.