Although another light snowfall on Saturday evening again left Northern California skiers and snowboarders anxious for the start of ski season, in Colorado the waiting is over: the season has begun.
Arapahoe Basin in Colorado became the first U.S. ski resort to open this season, running its lifts at 8:30 a.m. today (Oct. 13) with an 18-inch base.
Several resorts in Colorado have taken advantage of cold nighttime temperatures and ideal humidity conditions over the past several weeks. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area began making snow on September 27, and have made snow or received natural snow most days since then. Loveland is hoping to have a mid-October opening as well.
“Seeing skiers and snowboarders taking their first turns of the season is one of the highlights of the year,” said Colorado Ski Country USA President and CEO, Melanie Mills. “Since the first high country snowstorms several weeks ago, we’ve seen the enthusiasm in skiers and snowboarders building towards this day. Thanks to helpful weather patterns and the hard work of Snowmakers and groomers, all of Colorado’s resorts will open with top notch products our guests will enjoy.”
The race to host Opening Day is one of the highlights of the ski season, a title often held by Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin or Loveland. Both resorts are perched atop the Continental Divide giving them higher elevations, earlier frosts and colder temperatures. This also allows them to stay open long into the spring giving Colorado one of the longest ski seasons in the country.
While many of Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts are thrilled at seeing snowfall in the past several weeks, Boreal Mountain Resort was taking a more pro-active approach: Boreal has been making snow when possible.
Boreal fired up 14 of its snow-making guns in late September and if conditions warrant, the resort could open sometime in October.
“Snow in September! This is awesome for us,” said a Boreal spokesperson Tess Hobbs said. “It’s great. Our crews wait for this all summer long. We’re all skiers, and to us this is the start of winter.”
Two years ago, Boreal opened for skiing and riding on Oct. 28. The earliest opening in Boreal’s history was Oct. 9, 2010.
Boreal, located off Interstate 80 at Donner Summit, typically starts its season with one lift for skiers and riders. And often times its hours of operation are from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.