Chatter about a possible weekend storm has heightened at the same time Breckenridge Ski Resort kicks off its season, with the Colorado SuperChair and Rip's Ride starting to turn at 9 a.m. today to whisk skiers and riders onto the hill.
The ski area opens with an 18-inch base on Peak 8 for its 51st season, the first part of the mountain to open, with approximately 40 acres of skiable terrain on two trails: Springmeier and Trygve's.
Last season, Breck opened with man-made packed-powder conditions and an 18-inch base. But with three lifts - Rip's Ride, 5 Chair and the Colorado SuperChair - and 127 acres on four runs to start the season, skiers and snowboarders weren't complaining.
Though this season's starter couldn't compete with the 2010-2011 opening day, which followed a 30-inch storm that would set the tone for a record snowfall season, ski area officials anticipate a busy day. "We are really excited," said Kristen Petitt-Stewart, spokeswoman for the ski resort. "We'll be partying all day to help Ullr usher in this storm. Opening day is all about ski season being back, but it's nice to see a storm in the works."
Opening day festivities
All guests can enjoy free parking in the gondola lots today and signature cinnamon rolls are free for the first 2,000 guests, starting at 8 a.m. on the Ski Hill Grill patio, according to ski area officials.
KSMT will be broadcasting live from the base of Peak 8 with opportunities to win prizes throughout the day from on-site promotions.
The Gold Run Coaster opens at 11 a.m. and will be free for guests with a lift ticket or season pass. It offers 2,500 feet of coaster track winding down the resort. Guests can ride alone or with a friend on the two-seater coaster cars, and control their own speed through the turns and twists around Breck's ski runs.
Located adjacent to the brand new Peak 8 Plaza at One Ski Hill Place, the T-Bar will offer drink specials and live entertainment until last chair at 4 p.m.
Ullr, the infamous Norse god of snow and the North decides first on season opener chair lifts.
Breckenridge's Find Ullr promotion concluded Thursday in Denver with the winner securing first chair at today's opening.
Kicking off the celebration of Breckenridge during opening week and starting Nov. 2, the promotion had the snow god popping up at various Denver landmarks.
"We chose Denver as the place where Ullr is going to be to drum up the excitement for opening day," Alysa Hetze said. "Anyone can participate but they have to be in Denver to track him down. This is a great way to encourage people to drive up from the Front Range for opening day."
Second chair is reserved for Kelly Ozinga, with Breckenridge Grand Vacations, who spotted Ullr hiding out at Starbucks in Breck Thursday morning while participating in the Wake Up Breck promotion that took place at various coffee shops around Breck.
Ozinga, dressed as a "Bookie" super hero promoting discounted lodging with her team, started their day earlier ringing cow bells throughout town getting people excited for opening day.
"We made sure we were out of the door at 6:30 this morning," Ozinga said. "Our first stop was at Kava Cafe. It was a total surprise and added bonus when we won second chair. We're ecstatic."
Ozinga and the rest of the Bookie team will be outfitted in matching super hero gear at the head of Breck's opening lines today.
"We'll be noticeable - if anyone recognizes us, we encourage them to come up and say hi," Ozinga said. "We're ready for the season to start."