With less than 48 hours before the lifts start spinning at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, operations crews took to the mountain Friday for final preparations for opening day.
Officials at A-Basin expect as many as 1,000 skiers to take to the hill on the first day of the season. The renovations and expansion to the A-Frame base lodge will not be finished in time, but are expected to be completed some time in December. The base lodge will be open while under construction.
One eager area resident, who referred to himself only as “Nate Dogg,” was already at the base of the mountain prepared to lay claim to the first chair of the season. He said he has claimed first chair in Colorado for 17 years now. He and a few friends planned to stay overnight Friday and Saturday in order to hold their place in line.
Loveland Ski Area officials told the Daily they won’t be opening this weekend but are making good progress with snowmaking and will likely open later in the week.
“We want to say congrats to A-Basin for getting the season started,” Loveland marketing director John Sellars said. “After this weekend, we should be in a position to make an announcement early next week. We’re excited to be opening soon.”
The two ski areas have maintained a friendly competition over the years to see who can be the first to open. A-Basin has been first for the last two seasons, Wolf Creek snuck into the competition three seasons ago, thanks to an early storm, and Loveland won the year before that. Neither A-Basin nor Loveland acknowledged that a mountain in Minnesota was able to beat them last year, pointing out that resort only opened a tow lift and closed after a day.
Keystone Resort and Copper Mountain are both scheduled to open Nov. 1, with Breckenridge Ski Resort following suit Nov. 8.