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Taking to the hills at Searchmont (15 photos)

As the holiday ski week wraps up, the hills are as busy as ever

Trained athletes, skiers and snowboarders of all ages and skill levels merrily skirt, clomp and shuffle along to get in line and ride up the Searchmont mountain slopes.

However, not all of the runs are open yet. Searchmont is still building snow on the bigger, more complicated hills, like the Quad.

As such, the cost of day passes has been discounted to ensure customers are getting a fair price.

Since the Searchmont season opened Dec. 23, skiers and snowboarders have been rushing to enjoy the snowy runs.

According to Julie Mullins, Searchmont's snow school coordinator, tons of people are getting into skiing and snowboarding.

"We're seeing more than most years," said Mullins excitedly.

This makes sense, as "people want to get out as much as they can before anything changes," said Mullins. 

With 11 instructors currently available to teach, the snow school offers private lessons and specialized programs for adult beginners and kids learning to ski.

The holiday program, a five-day ski and snowboarding tutorial available to kids ages 4-14, finishes today.

Mullins, who enjoys snowboarding herself, proudly explained that, "[the program] helps them to progress and build their skills over the course of the week."

"They've been doing really great, which is awesome!" she said.

One of those snow school students is seven-year-old Lily, in a bright blue snowsuit and pink, white and bright blue polka dot skis.

Lily's parents, Pam and David signed her up to help her get more comfortable on the slopes.

"She has learned so much this past week," said Pam.

Things like, "how to kick up snow and turning," Lily said as she swung her arms and leaned to the side like a seasoned pro.

While Lily has been in her lessons, her little sister Rosie, five, has received lessons from her dad and catching on quickly. With a happy glance at her mom, Rosie is confident she's ready to tackle the big hill for the first time.

In line to head up the Goulais Ski Lift to the top of the big hill, is a group of girls in matching green and black snowsuits. Teagan, Maele, Elinor, Catherine and Maggie are part of a ski racing team, the Searchmont Ski Runners.

After their morning practice, the girls are enjoying "free skiing until whenever they want, or the lift closes at 4 p.m.," whichever comes first.

The ski team has been practicing as often as possible since the resort opened up and they're looking forward to skiing throughout the season.

According to Searchmont staff, as long as nothing else happens, Mother Nature will dictate how long they'll be open for. But they're hoping until April. 

Check out searchmont.com to find out more about upcoming Snow School Lessons and Programs.