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Keystone redefines opening day

RICHARD CHITTICK
Summit Daily file photo/Carl Scofield Breckenridge Ski Resort will celebrate its opening day Friday with yet another pancake breakfast for early-rising skiers and riders.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – The word has been spreading like snow across the High Country. When Keystone Resort opens on Friday at 8 a.m., it will remain open for 36 straight hours.The question Keystone is asking is: Can you meet the 36-Hour Team Challenge?As part of the resort’s effort to redefine the term “opening day,” Keystone is offering a contest in which teams work to ski at least one run during each of the 36 hours the resort is open. Each team that completes the task will be entered into a drawing to win $3,600 in cash.According to Keystone Resort spokesperson Lisha Burnett, the contest is open to teams of two, three, or four people. Teams can register for the event at http://www.active.com.”We’re looking for ways to make the resort even better and more exciting,” Burnett said. “We wanted to focus on fun at the beginning of the season. We wanted everyone to participate. It’s not about being the fastest or being the best. It’s just for teams to come together and have fun.” The promotion is designed to highlight every aspect of the resort, including its night skiing and its terrain park, Burnett said. Though Keystone is not the only resort in Colorado to offer night skiing, it does offer skiers and snowboarders the state’s most extensive lighting system at a ski area. Spokesperson Amy Kemp said: “I checked with some people in mountain operations, and this is the earliest that any of them can remember that we’ve offered night skiing.”

Rob Monnaville, who owns Blue Valley Ski Rentals in Silverthorne, wasted no time in signing up for the contest. “A friend brought it to my attention and as soon as she said ‘3,600 bucks’ I said, ‘Hey, we’ll do it,'” he said. Monnaville expects one of the biggest challenges of the contest will be staying committed to skiing – even though early season conditions may force him to stay on the green trails the entire time.”I can handle the physical part, but the mental part – I don’t know,” he said. “I kind of wish it wasn’t the first weekend (at Keystone) of the season.” According to Kemp, the resort is opening with a 3.5-mile top-to-bottom run on Dercum Mountain being serviced by the River Run Gondola. The run will consist of pieces of six different runs. Additional snow may allow the resort to open more terrain, Kemp said. “Things may change,” she said. “It’s all weather dependent and snow dependent, so we’re telling everyone to think snow and think cold and then we can open more terrain.”

To go with the promotion, Keystone is offering a $36 lift ticket good for all 36 hours, as well as $36 lodging deals. Several business will also be open throughout the night, including the Green Light night club and Keystone Sports. Burnett was careful to point out that skiing or riding while intoxicated will not be tolerated at the resort and lift operators will be monitoring for it. Breck to open 60 acres of terrain on FridayA half-hour after Keystone opens on Friday, the last of Summit County’s four ski areas, Breckenridge, will fire up its lifts as well. At 8:30 a.m., Breckenridge will open with the Beaver Run SuperChair, serving about 60 acres of terrain on the Columbia, Sundown and Bonanza trails.

According to Breckenridge’s communications manager, Emily Jacob, the resort is celebrating the 20th anniversary of snowboarding this season. The resort was one of the first to welcome the sport onto its slopes in the early 80s, which led to Breck hosting the inaugural world snowboarding championships in 1986. The celebration begins on opening day as Breckenridge hosts a retro costume contest to showcase snowboarding’s past. Riders are encouraged to break out old school equipment and clothing.The prize list for the contest includes a 2004-2005 season pass to the resort as well as a weekend getaway to Breckenridge. Lift tickets will be $45 for adults and $25 for children 12-and-under. As is tradition for Breckenridge, all opening day proceeds are being donated to four local charities, Jacob said. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at rchittick@summitdaily.com.


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