CALGARY -- It has been a long off-season than usual for skiers and snowboarders in southern Alberta riders after last season came to halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the weekend Castle Mountain Resort held its sneak peek weekend having riders gravitate to the hill for the first since it closed March 17.

“We’re excited to come out and enjoy getting on the ski kills. Great being outside being safe here” said skier Jason Dueck. “We had seasons passes last year. So it was a little disappointing to close early but we’re excited to be out again this year.”

The father of four's enthusiasm resonating with his 10-year-old daughter.

“I really like the snow and building a snowman and skiing a lot too” said skier Kyla Dueck.

The resort only opened one lift and a magic carpet for the weekend.

“This is our sneak peek weekend. It’s the final day of it. This is one of the earliest openings we have had in 15 years,” said administrative supervisor Sabrina Ryans.

Resort staff are using the weekend as a test run before it the hill opens up more areas of the hill and begins seven-day operations next Friday.

“As people come back to the resort we ask that they help keep our season safe,” said Ryans. “We’re asking that folks have maskings or face-coverings on through all of our base and high traffic areas. We are putting some restrictions, volume, inside of all of our buildings.”

The hill has added outdoor tents helping reduce capacity to traditional indoor spaces.

Castle Mountain Resort plans to stay open until the middle of April.