With chair lifts at two ski resorts already transporting powder lovers to sought after peaks, and many other resorts poised to open, shoulder season in Colorado is quickly becoming a distant memory.
Both Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Loveland Ski Area kicked off the winter sports season on Thursday, Oct. 29. Rob Goodell, director of operations at Loveland, was thankful the weather cooperated.
“Mother Nature helped out with the natural, and then our snowmaking crews kept things going,” he said.
The pair of openings was certainly cause to celebrate, Melanie Mills, a representative with Colorado Ski Country, said.
“It’s awesome to have two openings on the same day,” she said. “It gives us a bit of critical mass.”
Mills, who attended the Loveland kickoff, said she comes out for every opening day possible.
“The energy and vibe of opening day is the best,” she said. “In Colorado this is where skiing happens in the U.S. right now.”
As mild fall weather lingered into mid October, ski and snowboard enthusiasts waited for the skies to shower us with white. Prayers were answered on Thursday, Oct. 22, when Summit County awoke to a proverbial winter wonderland. Russell Carlton, senior communications coordinator at Keystone Resorts, said since then Mother Nature has provided a total of 13 inches. He also noted that Breckenridge (17 inches) and Vail (14 inches) were narrowly ahead in the early season snow totals. Keystone is slated to open for snow devotees on Nov. 6.
Lower temperatures meant manmade snow could also contribute to the pack on the mountain.
“We needed that humidity to drop down, and that made it tough,” Goodell said. “Once we got to those cold nights and low humidity we were able to rock.”
Kristen Stewart, senior communications manager for Breckenridge Ski Resort, confirmed the snow totals, noting the resort will start the season on Friday, Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. As per tradition, Peak 8 will open first with the Colorado SuperChair helping riders ascend to descend.
“The annual Wake Up Breck event will be held on Nov. 12,” she said.
To thank the community, free coffee and mugs will be available at Breck coffee shops. More details will be announced next week, she said.
Copper Mountain Resort, set to open on Nov. 13, will offer patrons several new dining options this season. Stephanie Sweeney, communications manager for Copper, said a new Starbucks Coffee is set to open on the first floor of the Mountain Plaza building next week.
Other dining additions include Mahi Fish Tacos, which will take up residence in Center Village in the spot formerly occupied by Belgian Bean. Offering grab and go options, Sweeney said the operation will specialize in a variety of fish, but will also feature salads and quesadillas.
Belgian Bean will relocate to the hill the location previously known as Flyer’s Soup Shack. Their new location can be found just below the top of the American Flyer lift and in between the American Flyer and Moz trails. Belgian waffles and a wide variety of coffee beverages will be available.
At Keystone, Carlton said the resort would again offer a kids ski free program. Children under 12, whose parents stay at least two nights, can ski or board for free. Thus far the resort has given away over 90,000 free tickets for children.
“We pride ourselves on our family friendly offerings,” he said.
Carlton noted Keystone has three peaks and the most skiable acres in Summit County. He said that Kidstopia will kick off after Thanksgiving and provide daily activities for little ones.