By Marissa Perlman

TRUCKEE (CBS13) — Ski resorts are back open around Lake Tahoe as Northstar and Heavenly celebrating opening day on Friday.

Eager skiers have been counting down the days to get back on the mountain.

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It’s seen as a mountain escape amid the pandemic. For seasonal skiers, this day has been top of mind, but hitting the slopes looks different this year.

“The best opening day I’ve had in a lot of opening days,” said Ryan, an avid snowboarder.

Edwin, who comes to NorthStar every year said, “What’s better than opening day?”

It’s a little sweeter this year for these snowbirds who say last season got cut short because of COVID-19.

“I’ve been waiting for this since March 23,” Edwin said.

Heading up to the snow? Check the latest forecast here. 

The fresh powder is a welcome retreat for many after sheltering in for months.

“We’ve been beaming for some good snow,” said John, after heading down the hill.

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Now the gondolas are up and running, the snow is made, and those behind getting the resort up and running say you can feel the energy on the slopes.

“They’re happy to be back and we’re happy to welcome them back,” said Kayla Elias, with NorthStar Resort.

But the pandemic changes things. You need to wear a face mask at all times and a reservation is needed to hit the slopes.

Additionally, because El Dorado County is in the purple tier, all access to lodges and restaurants is shut down.

“It’s really a new level of personal responsibility and we’re relying on our guests to follow those guidelines,” said Elias.

As the holiday is right around the corner, some are calling opening day a Thanksgiving blessing.

“There’s snow and it’s November. We haven’t even had turkey yet and we’ve got this,” Ryan said.

His twin brother Chris said, “You can’t sling beers at the lodge which is a bit of a bummer, but you know, give and take, you have to be grateful.”

El Dorado County confirmed Heavenly and Northstar are allowed to open, but the state health department hasn’t updated its guidelines on information specific to ski resorts. Health officials said they’re working on guidance for ski resorts.

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Marissa Perlman