Red Mountain Resort goes au natural. With snow, that is. The resort opened in mid-December, more than a week earlier than last year with 100 percent natural snow. The resort is also offering a lodging and lift ticket special this winter that adds on free nights and free skiing.

"We're back at it, and conditions are looking great," Mika Hakkola told OnTheSnow, adding that skiers and riders still need to be wary of early season conditions. The resort relies completely on natural snow to cover its flanks, avoiding the energy consumption of snowmaking.

The earlier opening came just in time to get the resort up to speed by the holidays. The annual Breakfast with Santa is served up 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 25, in Paradise Lodge followed by the traditional New Year's Eve party Dec. 31 in Rafters with live music and shuttles back to Rossland for those who party too hard.

Red Mountain is gearing up for its biggest event of the year following the holidays. The Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships is set to take place Jan. 12-22. The event is celebrating its 10th year of competition.

Visitors to Red Mountain this winter can take advantage of the It's A Deal, For Real ski and stay special. The package adds on extra free nights of lodging and free days of skiing if you meet the minimum. Booking three nights of accommodations and three days of lift tickets can get you two additional of each. Booking four nights and four days of skiing can add on three more for free.

The package is restricted to certain dates. It is valid through Dec. 22, Jan. 3-14, and March 21-April 4.

More information. Or call 877-969-7669.