‘Stoke’ level high as snowstorms turn Summit County ski areas into winter wonderlands
Ryan Summerlin October 21, 2015
Local ski area and resort representatives have delighted in the snow falling in the mountains over the past week. The snowy conditions have elicited grand reviews from early-season guests, they said.
Keystone Resort currently has 142 acres of terrain open across seven trails — with five chairlifts running during the week and six on the weekends.
The resort opened the Flying Dutchman blue trail on Friday, offering guests expanded early-season terrain over the weekend.
The “stoke” level was high as skiers and snowboarders took their turns down the mountain, said Keystone Resort representative Tucker Burton.
“There were definitely plenty of ‘whoops’ and hollers to be heard as folks enjoyed their very first, highly anticipated powder turns of the season,” she said.
Burton said the foot of snow falling at the resort in the latest storm, combined with snowmaking, has created an excellent base on the mountain. “Plus, it’s created powder and packed-powder conditions, which everyone loves to ski and ride,” she said.
Keystone will be hosting a large Demo Days this weekend in the parking lot next to the gondola. It will feature a multitude of ski and snowboard brands, and give guests the opportunity to test a variety of new equipment.
The 13 inches of snow falling at Copper Mountain over the past week has made for some prime conditions going into the holiday season, said Copper Mountain communications representative Stephanie Sweeney.
“With lots of help from Mother Nature and the hard work from our slope maintenance crews, Copper Mountain is seeing some of its best early-season conditions,” she said.
There are 129 acres of terrain currently open at Copper Mountain, and more will open as conditions allow.
“It’s been very exciting to be a part of such a great early season here at Copper Mountain — from (demos) testing the product to sending the U.S. Alpine Ski Team off in style — I’m excited for what else is in store this winter,” Sweeney said.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area representatives said fresh snow allowed them to give beginner skiers and riders more trails to ski about three weeks ahead of their typical opening.
“We were excited to get all of our beginner terrain — including Wrangler and the Molly Hogan learning area carpet open last weekend,” said A-Basin’s communication manager Adrienne Saia Isaac.
“Every trace of new snow helps us open more terrain, and the upper mountain is also really coming along,” she said.
The resort received 9 inches of snow from the weekend storm. It currently has 115 acres of terrain open.
The snow consistently falling on A-Basin has sustained snow lovers urges to be on the mountain, Saia Isaac said.
“Guest response, in terms of the number of people I see on the hill every day, has continually exceeded my expectations this season — I think all of this early season snow has kept the excitement of opening day alive for our guests. People are stoked to be back out on the hill, plain and simple,” she said.
A-Basin employees are currently focusing on widening the already open terrain and on getting new runs open, said Saia Isaac.
They planned to start snowmaking overnight on Tuesday for the High Divide Terrain Park, their progressive park that lives (in the regular season) beneath the Black Mountain Express chair at midmountain.
They’re also working to open more upper-mountain terrain, including Lenawee Parks, West Wall and Cornice Run.
Saia Isaac said she’s enjoying being able to ski great terrain this early in the season, especially with friends on her days off.
“It’s been sunny, the snow is good, and there’s nothing like kicking back on the A-Frame deck with a bacon bloody and soaking all of that in,” she said. “It’s also cool to see people taking advantage of uphill access — I love rolling in to work to see people skinning with their dogs, enjoying the calm of the early morning.”
A-Basin is hosting its first event in the Rise ’n’ Shine Rando Series the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 3. It will be the first in a four-part randonee series with both uphill and downhill components.
“It was popular last year with the local community, and we’re hoping to see our participants back again this season,” Saia Isaac said.
Of the area’s ski resorts, Breckenridge was hit with the most powder in the latest storm over Summit County. Breck reported receiving 15 inches over the weekend. The resort is currently operating at 14 percent open, offering 331 acres of open terrain, including 20 open ski runs.
Loveland Ski Area, just outside of Summit County, reported receiving more than 9 inches of snow from the latest weather system. It’s currently operating 218 acres of open terrain.
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