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Pajarito set to open Dec. 21

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By Mike Cote

Pajarito Ski Area announced on its website that it will be up and running next weekend.The ski area will officially open Dec. 21 with four lifts running as well as “other (m)ountain services in place,” according to www.skipajarito.com.Lifts are scheduled to start operation at 9 a.m. Dec. 21 and run until 4 p.m. on all operation days.Pajarito reported it received 20 to 26 inches of snow out of the most recent storm, bringing its base total to 22 to 30 inches. It picked up 2 to 3 inches in the previous 24 hours as of 8:43 a.m.“It’s right on the cusp right now,” Pajarito business manager Don Sauer said of the conditions at the ski hill. “We’re hoping we’ll have more (snow) before next Friday, but as long as we keep what we’ve got, we’ll be fine.”The runs that will be open will be announced next week, although Sauer said approximately 80 percent of Pajarito Mountain should be open for its 2007-08 premier. All lifts are expected to be running except the Townsite lift.The ski area had three snow cats running this morning, and Sauer said they should be grooming the slopes for the remainder of the day.“We’re very happy to have snow,” he said. “Everybody was talking about this being a dry winter, so we’re real pleased to see this come.”