Lining up at A-Basin |

Lining up at A-Basin

Summit Daily/Reid Williams With snow falling Friday morning, the crowd of skiers and riders cheered as Arapahoe Basin chief of operations Alan Henceroth dropped the ropes to the Exhibition chair, officially opening the mountain for the year.

ARAPAHOE BASIN – They arrived like a starving colony rushing to a feast, except the famished souls who arrived at the Arapahoe Basin dinner table on Friday came for a hearty meal of early-season riding.Despite long lines, a short run and a slow lift, spirits were high and chief of operations Alan Henceroth looked like a man who overinvited for the dinner party.”We were expecting a good day, but this has been great,” Henceroth said.A-Basin’s Friday opening was the earliest in history – although Henceroth said there’s a reason his mountain got the nickname, The Legend – due to the second year of snowmaking.”Legend has it, he said, “we opened in September sometime in the ’70s, but I’m going to have to check on that.”

Last season, the mountain opened on Oct. 30.Other comments from the crowd on Friday morning:”I’m just hoping it snows a lot. From what everyone’s been saying, we’re going to get a lot of snow.” – Ron Barr, 19, Breckenridge, who’s been riding six days this year, mostly on Loveland Pass

“My goal is to land 360s right now, perfectly. I need to feel better in the park. I hurt myself last winter when I hit my ribs on a rail. But I’m ready to be back.” – Amy Sokolowski, Breckenridge”I just want to get better. I want to hit the terrain park more this year. This is the earliest I’ve been out.” – Matt Gonzales, Fort Collins, who arrived with his brother, Andrew, before they had to work later in the day”I don’t set goals for myself, I just ski.” – Cathy Chaplin, Denver

“(My goal is) to not mangle myself. I don’t want to break anything. Everybody must be psyched this year considering how many people are here.” – Juliette Hofford, Keystone, who came with friends Anastasia Sprowl, Amanda Hall and Matt Bolden, all from Keystone.”I want to learn 7s. I can land 5s, but I’ve never tried a 7. I’ve never had the balls to try and land one.” – Dan Grine, Aspen”I didn’t have school (at Denver University) today, so I just came up with friends. I’m just coming off a torn ACL, so I’m going to start easy. But I’ll eventually go big by the end of the year.” – Chris Spurlock, Denver

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