WILMINGTON Whiteface Mountain Ski Center will kick off its golden anniversary celebrations next week with a Ski Sweater Ball. We want everyone to be proud of Whiteface and all that has been accomplished since January 1958, said Ted Blazer, ORDA President and CEO for Whiteface in Wilmington. It has changed, but the essence of the Mountain has remained the same. It is big, and invites the best from everyone. On Saturday, Jan. 26 from 7-11 p.m., the ball will be held. People are encourages to wear their favorite ski sweaters. We wanted to be able to offer a celebration that would be indoor as well as including the mountain. In Lake Placid and Wilmington everyone has their favorite ski sweater so it is a natural fit. Additionally, the opening ceremony of the Lillehammer Olympics featured people dressed in their ski sweaters and skirts tele skiing down the mountain. That was one of my favorite Olympic moments and it will be fun to try to emulate that, said Bridget Hinman, marketing director for Whiteface. Along with cocktails, carving stations, pasta stations and seafood stations in the main base lodge at Whiteface, live entertainment and dancing to the music of The Ultimate Band Nu-cullers will take place. The evening will feature a showing of vintage Whiteface Film, and a coronation of King and Queen. The evening will offer all-age entertainment, with fireworks show and lighted snowmaking, night skiing on the Mixing Bowl (rentals and lessons will not be available), fruit by the foot rail station, and hikes up the lighted half pipe. Free shuttle service from and to Lake Placid / Wilmington will be available. Mountain Manager Jay Rand said the operation was continuing to grow. He said operators were anticipation 200,000 visits this year. We're excited about all the improvements that have been put into the mountain in the last decade in particular - theres a lot of new trails, new lifts, new Kids Kampus facility, and improved snowmaking. We've got a good base to continue to make Whiteface one of the best areas in the East, said Rand. The mountain currently has 18 miles of trails. Work is also underway on the Lookout Mountain Trail Expansion, which should be ready from the 2008-2009 ski season. The Mountain is important to the region in that it lends itself naturally to be an icon for the Wilmington area. It also provides an enormous opportunity for employment for local people providing jobs that are very stimulating. In addition, because of the visitation at the facility, businesses around the Mountain are able to be sustained. It is great for the economy, said Blazer. The celebration will be ongoing throughout the rest of the season. January 25 kicks off the celebration with $30 retro priced lift tickets, and each weekend will feature entertainment from a different decade. Tickets for the ski sweater ball should be reserved in advance. They can be purchased at the Box Office, The ORDA Store or at Whiteface. The cost is $85 per person, while kids and teens ages 7-20 are free. For more information, go online to http://whiteface.com\Newsite/sweaterBall .