While Summit County golfers will have to wait a bit longer to get their season underway, area powderhounds are eagerly looking at the forecast anticipating one more big snow day.
The weather system that rolled through the Interstate 70 corridor on Thursday forced Raven Golf Club officials to delay the opening of the course’s front nine holes — originally scheduled to open Friday.
“It’s disappointing,” course director Mark Nickel said, “but it’s the weather we live with up here. A couple of years ago it snowed on my birthday, June 20th.”
Early Saturday Nickel still had hopes of opening the course to a few eager golfers, but cooling temperatures failed to melt all the snow and forced him to once again delay the start of the season.
With more snow in the forecast, he said it was unlikely he would be able to open the course on Sunday.
“We’re just doing it day by day,” he said Saturday afternoon. The Raven’s driving range is open, and a few brave golfers were getting in some practice time Saturday.
The snow delayed the course opening, but Nickel said it will have no negative effect on course conditions, adding that the extra moisture is likely to help the greens and fairways.
“Really it’s just like a heavy rain or a thunderstorm. More of this moisture isn’t a bad thing for the course. It just discourages play.”
Nickel expects his grounds crew to have the course ready to go as soon as temperatures warm. He said it doesn’t take long once the sun comes out, and that the Raven’s hillside location allows for quick drainage. The front nine are currently set to open as soon as weather will allow; the back nine are scheduled to open Friday, May 16.
The River course at Keystone also is scheduled to open the 16th. Earlier in the week Keystone course pro Philip Tobias said he hoped to open all 18 holes, but it would depend on the weather this weekend. Keystone might decide to open only the front nine to start, he said.
While golfers lamented a delayed start to the season, officials from Arapahoe Basin Ski Area were likely grinning from ear to ear.
As of Saturday morning the ski area had received around 14 inches in the previous 48 hours, with forecasters citing the possibility of an additional 22 inches by Monday morning.
“I’m pretty excited. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it happens,” ski area vice president and COO Alan Henceroth said. “I’m hoping for lots of snow.”
A-Basin communications manager Adrienne Saia Isaac said that spirits already were high after 7 fresh inches fell on the slopes overnight.
“It’s busy, man, people are psyched. I’m pleasantly surprised by the energy and how excited people still are.”
As for the potential for more snow, she said, “We’re hoping it comes through on the high side. It could be something extraordinary.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for Summit County, starting at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 11, and running through 6 a.m. Monday, May 12.
While surprising, Saia Isaac said it’s not completely unexpected for this time of year.
“Last year we had almost 50 inches of snow in May.”
Henceroth added, “While this is good, it’s by no means out of the ordinary.”
In addition to helping A-Basin, the cooler temperatures and precipitation are expected to both delay and increase spring runoff. With an already promising paddling season in store, area rafters and kayakers can continue to look forward to the whitewater season.