Let it snow | SummitDaily.com

Let it snow

SUMMIT COUNTY – It was not a ghostly chill that settled on Summit County this Halloween, but one that brought with it more than a foot of fresh snow.

In fact, enough snow has fallen this week to open the Breckenridge Nordic Center a week earlier than planned.

“I just finished skiing, and it’s in beautiful shape,” said Therese Dayton, who operates the Frisco and Breckenridge Nordic centers with her husband, Gene. “This is the best base we’ve ever had” for opening a season.

The Daytons are opening the Breckenridge Nordic Center today.

“People have already been out there skiing, so we might as well make it official,” Dayton said.

Skiing will be free to locals today, and the center should be open throughout the weekend – weather permitting, she said. It may be closed next week, but Dayton said she hopes to re-open it next weekend, when the Nordic center holds its annual ski swap.

Copper Mountain also is opening earlier than expected. The resort was scheduled to open for the season Saturday, but officials announced Thursday they will open for four hours today, from noon to 4 p.m. will begin regular hours Saturday.

Twenty-one inches of snow fell in the past few days, said Beth Jahnigen, Copper Mountain communications coordinator.

Keystone will be next to open, on Friday, Nov. 8. Resort officials said the mountain has gotten about 16 inches of snow in the past two days.

Breckenridge, which opens Nov. 15, reported two feet of snow in the past few days.

Officials at Arapahoe Basin have set a tentative opening date of Nov. 27. The ski area recorded almost a foot of new snow Wednesday morning and another 9 inches by Thursday, with a total of 45 inches for the month.

At this time last year, A-Basin had received only 3 inches of snow, said marketing director Leigh Hierholzer.

“This is the most we’ve had – it’s a record,” she said, adding the average snowfall for October is 19 inches. “Over the last 25 years, the closest that it’s come to that record was back in ’82-83, when we received 37 inches in October.”

Hierholzer said employees are busy completing construction on A-Basin’s new snowmaking system. It will be the first season with snowmaking – the resort received final approval for snowmaking earlier this year, after seven years of legal battle and protest. Officials hope to begin snowmaking operations within the next two weeks, she said.

“Everybody’s pretty excited about all the snow,” Hierholzer said.

After months of developing in the tropical Pacific Ocean, El Nino is poised to influence fall and winter weather across the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The El Nino influence will be weaker than the very strong 1997-98 version, but still will impact temperature and precipitation patterns.

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