Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let the Ski Season Begin!

Arapahoe Basin opened today, the second Colorado ski resort to start turning lifts for guests this season.

The Oct. 13 opening is just 100 days after it closed on July 4. It's not the earliest, though. In 2009, the mountain opened on Oct. 9, and in 2007, it opened on Oct. 10.
“It seems like we just closed, but we're excited to get it open again,” spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer said, adding that everyone has their fingers crossed for a snow year along the lines of 2010-11.

According to Hierholzer, snowmakers at the mountain have been working throughout the week to create an 18-inch base on the intermediate High Noon run along with several features in the High Divide Terrain Park. There is no beginner skiing open at the mountain.

Several inches of fresh snow this week helped snowmakers finish the task and open Black Mountain Express at 9 a.m. today.

“We're open for the season,” Hierholzer said.

Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado was first in the state this season. It opened Saturday, but has not remained in operation. Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort outside Las Vegas claims it was the first in the nation to open, beating Wolf Creek by 27 minutes.

This morning, the day begins with a tribute to Arapahoe Basin founders Marnie Jump and Max Dercum, who both died this year. The tribute will take place before the lifts open to the public. Local radio station KYSL will do a live morning show and give away lift tickets on-air. KSMT will also be on site in the base area with a live remote, playing music and handing out give-aways. More info

What: Arapahoe Basin opening day

When: 9 a.m. today

Where: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Cost: Adults — $59; Youth ages 15-18 — $49; Children ages 6-14 — $30

The ski and snowboard rental shop, tune shop, food and beverage service, the 6th Alley bar and retail shop will be open to the public. Snowsports lessons will be available on a limited basis.

Loveland opens Friday

Last year, Loveland Ski Area beat out Arapahoe Basin in the race to opening day — their lifts started turning on Oct. 24 with the Basin following the next day. This year, Chair 1 at Loveland starts turning at 9 a.m. Friday.

“Warm weather delayed the start of snowmaking, but cold temperatures settled in and our snowmaking crew has done a great job making up for lost time,” said Rob Goodell, director of business operations at Loveland. “We still have some work to do, but the mountain looks great and we have 18 inches of snow from tree-to-tree for skiers and riders on Friday morning.”

Loveland's open terrain includes a single top-to-bottom run, dropping 1,000 vertical feet in a little over a mile via the trails Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun. Snowmaking was going nonstop since last Thursday with the exception of a short stoppage on Tuesday.

Loveland will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays. Early season lift tickets are $47 for adults and $22 for children ages 6-14.