Breckenridge Ski Resort kicked off its 51st season opener Friday, celebrating Veterans Day early by playing the Star Spangled Banner and releasing four doves promptly at 9 a.m. as the Colorado SuperChair and Rip's Ride started to turn.
The weather was sunny with temperatures in the mid-50s during the peak of the day, with mostly a local scene enjoying the free champagne and homemade cinnamon rolls offered to the first 2,000 guests.
Breck's opening warm weather isn't expected to last long though, with a winter storm expected to hit the county today.
"We're all keeping a close eye on the weather report this weekend; we would love to see natural snow," said Kristen Petitt-Stewart, spokeswoman of the resort. "We're really excited to start this season. Winter is definitely here."
The ski area opened with an 18-inch base on Peak 8 with approximately 40 acres of skiable terrain on two trails: Springmeier and Trygve's. A late addition to Breck's opening day was the hike-to terrain park with four features at Park Lane.
Last season, Breck opened with man-made packed-powder conditions, an 18-inch base, three lifts - Rip's Ride, 5 Chair and the Colorado SuperChair - and 127 acres on four runs.
"The constant with our opening days here at Breck is that it's always a party," said Kieran Cain, marketing director for the resort. "It gets better and better every year and this year is really a display of pent up demand."
"It's been a long summer and everyone is ready for winter," he added.
Breckenridge resident David Van Atta was happy to see his hometown ski area open.
"It's awesome and it's basically in my backyard," he said. "It means winter is coming."
The first-chair privilege went to Golden couple Christy Jeffrey and Jeremy Bradshaw, who found Ullr during the Denver promotion leading up to opening day.
Bradshaw, 30, came out to opening day dressed as old man with Jeffrey wearing a matching mask and pink tutu. Cutting it close to make a work meeting at noon and riding against the advice of his doctor who told him to take it easy until mid-December to heal his ACL, Bradshaw said he wouldn't miss the opportunity to ride fresh tracks on Breck's opening day.
"I voted for snow and I got it, hopefully more to come this weekend," Bradshaw said. "This is the first opening day first chair we've experienced. It felt pretty good."
"He looked great out there despite his injury," Jeffrey added.
Breck ski instructor Don Willoughby was also in high spirits Friday as he found time to get in a few runs between his work schedule.
"We couldn't ask for more beautiful weather for opening day," Willoughby said. "There is nothing but happiness all around. It's exciting that Breck is open and we're all looking forward to the snow coming this weekend."
As part of the opening day festivities, the Gold Run Coaster opened at 11 a.m. alleviating skier traffic while treating guests to a free ticket.
The coaster 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.