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Timberline will operate its Palmer lift all weekend, weather permitting.

Timberline has opened the Palmer Snowfield Friday through Sunday after getting two feet of early-season snow.

With 35 inches of total annual snowfall through Tuesday afternoon, Timberline management decided to get the 2013-14 season started early. The upper mountain is open from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, conditions permitting.

"We'll be bringing some groomers up there and getting it going," says Public Affairs Director Jon Tullis. "This new snow is just too good to waste."

Timberline is running both the Magic Mile and Palmer lifts, but encouraging guests to stick to the Palmer Snowfield, where the snow coverage is better. Lower mountain lifts such as the Jeff Flood Express and Stormin' Norman will not be open, because the freezing level has generally been at 6,000 feet and above and accumulation has been negligible at lower elevations.

Tickets are selling at early-season rates of $54 for adults 18-64, $46 for teens 15-17 and $36 for juniors and seniors. 2013-14 Timberline season passes will be accepted, as will 2013-14 Mt. Hood Fusion passes.

The weather forecast for 6,337 feet is calling for snow showers Saturday and sunshine Sunday, with freezing levels rising from 5400 feet Saturday morning to 8500 feet Sunday afternoon. The elevation at the top of the Palmer lift is 8470 feet.

Tullis says Timberline is encouraging skiers and snowboarders of intermediate level or above to come out and enjoy the October snow, but to keep in mind that there is no beginner's trail down from the top of the Palmer lift.

He says it is hard to know whether Timberline will be able to remain open after the weekend. "We just decided, hey, it's gorgeous, fresh snow. Let's have some fun and go skiing."

Sounds like a plan.

Timberline has the longest skiing and snowboarding season in North America. Operations have been shut down there for just about a month, since Labor Day weekend.