Early storms lift skier, industry hopes as snow proves deep and powdery

Jason Blevins
The Denver Post
at Loveland Ski area on November 19, 2010. or at Copper Mountain, on November 19, 2010. (Craig F. Walker/ The Denver Post)
ALL | The Denver Post

Early storms lift skier, industry hopes as snow proves deep and powdery

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Snowstorms measured in feet. Powder. Avalanches. Bustling villages. A series of bountiful storms has catapulted Colorado’s ski hills deep into winter. For many hills, this is the best opening in the past decade.

“It can’t get better in November,” says Pedro Perez-Soler, a 76-year-old Colorado Springs skier with icicles hanging from his beard. “It’s good to be alive in this kind of snow.”

The timing of the latest storms could not be better for Colorado’s ski industry, which counts early snow as its most precious commodity. It’s the time of year when resorts ramp up worldwide marketing efforts, prodding vacationers to book now. Rarely does the early-season “snow message” indicate much more than

manufactured snow and a few inches dusting rooftops.

“I can’t remember last year’s opening,” says Ross Nellums, a Colorado School of Mines student riding at Copper Mountain. “But I know it wasn’t snowy like this. When the five mountains closest to Denver get 20 inches from one storm in November, that’s a good sign.”

With more storms lining up for Thanksgiving week, the snow doesn’t appear to be waning, fueling a giddy optimism among resort operators and skiers.

At Vail Mountain on Friday, lines began hours before lifts started turning. Some people even camped overnight for the first tracks down 3 feet of fresh snow.

“It’s the best opening day I’ve seen,” says Devinder Mangat, who has been skiing Vail for 25 years. “Last year for the first couple of weeks, it was the white ribbon of death, so nobody wanted to come out and ski. This is pretty much the opposite of that.”

Since the economy foundered in 2008, Colorado’s resort industry has fought to stay flat.

Sporadic snowfall didn’t help, often arriving late in the season, when it does little to feed the buzz that fuels the industry. This season’s early endowment, along with baby-step signs of a lodging revival, is buoying hopes for a return to the heydays.

Read more: Early storms lift skier, industry hopes as snow proves deep and powdery – The Denver Post

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