Snowflakes danced in the breeze as they dropped onto the mountainsides, creating a fresh layer of soft snow atop the groomed trails at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas on Thursday.
Families, hardcore skiers and boarders, and even a few newbies took advantage of the above-average early season conditions at both ski areas.
Snowboarder Major Mosier sported a bushy hairdo and backward mask that gave him eyes in the back of his head as he cruised down the slopes. He was joined by boarders dressed in banana suits, caped crusaders and skiers with fairy wings at Arapahoe Basin on Halloween afternoon.
Mosier, whose been boarding at A-Basin for four years, said he was coaxed to the ski area by the early season snowstorms that have been hitting the High Country over the last couple days.
“I came out today because I saw they got a couple inches yesterday and a couple inches today, and it’s supposed to snow all day today,” Mosier said.
The boarder said he was enjoying the wide-open runs, short lift lines and down-home atmosphere the early season ski areas had to offer.
“There’s less crowds here than at some of the bigger resorts and A-basin and Loveland tend to be more family oriented. I use both of them equally,” he said.
Steve “Soul Man” Soule was all smiles as he served up pulled pork and other goodies at the Black Mountain Lodge on Thursday.
The A-Basin chef took on a Wild West look as he worked on Thursday in honor of Halloween. He said he was having just as much fun as the guests at the resort.
“We are off to an outrageous start. Look at all this beautiful snow. How could you not have a good time?” he said.
Adrienne Saia Isaac, A-Basin’s spokeswoman, also took advantage of her work environment this week, temporarily leaving her office post to hit the slopes.
“The coverage and snow quality is fantastic for this early in the season,” Saia Isaac said.
The early season snow has gotten people stoked to get back on the mountain this season, she said.
“We’ve had lots of guests of all ages coming up to A-Basin since we opened,” she said. “The base area is lively, we’ve got happy people sliding around on snow and we hope this season just keeps on rolling with this positive start.”
The ski area received several inches of snow on Wednesday, and a steady stream of flakes continued to fall on Thursday. As skiers took turns down the open terrain on Thursday, snowmakers shot streams of powder onto nearby runs.
The A-Basin team was focused on getting beginner terrain open on Sundance, as well as more terrain off the Lenawee Mountain lift, on the upper mountain, Saia Isaac said.
A-Basin representatives haven’t set a date for opening more terrain, but they said guests could expect some openings in the next week or so.
Ginny Laadt, a Littleton resident who’s been skiing for about 50 years, said she was impressed with the early season conditions at the ski area.
“We appreciate A-Basin opening early and keeping the slopes in such great shape, because even though there are few runs open, they’re in really good condition and that’s important,” Laadt said.
Loveland Ski Area
Julien Sharp has been driving from Denver for private ski lessons with Loveland Ski Area instructor Tammi Sjoden for three years.
Sharp was getting a jump on overcoming the learning curve by taking an early season lesson with her instructor on Thursday.
“This year I want to take the snowcat up with Tammi and ski down the Field of Dreams behind Chair 8,” Sharp said. “I just want to get better and better. I didn’t learn until I was an adult but now it’s my favorite thing.”
Sharp said the early season conditions at Loveland have been the best she’s seen since she started skiing there three years ago.
Loveland Ski Area reported receiving a foot of fresh snow in its first week of operation.
“The snow’s been fantastic so far and it looks like there’s more in the forecast tonight and tomorrow. Meanwhile, the snowmakers are still working hard to get more terrain open,” said John Sellers, Loveland Ski Area’s marketing director.
Loveland is set to open its third lift during the third week of the season on Saturday with Chair 2, which will provide access to the midway unload and Tango Road. Staff said Tango Road is an excellent beginner section for skiers or snowboarders looking to get their equipment back under their feet before the snow really starts to fly.
“It’s a great time to get your ski legs back and work on your turns, so as we get more terrain open and we start to get those powder days, you’ll be ready to go,” Seller said.
Denver resident Mark Kaix got a ski pass at Loveland for the first time this season.
“I was attracted to the new terrain. But I’ve been really impressed with how close the parking is, the quality of the food, the quality of the skiing, and how nice everybody is — so I’m sold,” Kiax said.
Sharp said there’s three things that attract her to Loveland: the early opening of its ski season, the proximity to Denver and the lack of crowds.
“I work from home, so I can come up for a couple hours, ski without standing in a bunch of lines and I can be back to work around 1 p.m. and feel like I’ve had a good run,” she said.
Copper Mountain, Keystone ski areas open today
Keystone’s 2013-14 ski and snowboard season starts Friday, Nov. 1. The resort’s season debut will include 65 skiable acres on Dercum Mountain and a weekend of events and activities. Lifts will open at 9 a.m. Friday, with skiing and riding through 4 p.m.
For more information about Keystone Resort, visit keystoneresort.com or call (877) 204-7889.
Copper will kick off its season on Friday, featuring top-to-bottom skiing and riding off the American Eagle chairlift and in the Easy Rider learning area.
The American Eagle chair will start turning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1 and at 8:30 a.m. on weekends and holidays.
More information about Copper Mountain can be found at www.CopperColorado.com.