Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announces Thursday opening (video)
Riding the coattails of a dry, sunny autumn, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced it would open Thursday, Oct. 29 for the ski and snowboard season. Not to be outpaced by Loveland Ski Area, A-Basin announced its opening date just after Loveland announced it would open on Thursday.
“You know it’s a friendly rivalry, and I’m glad A-Basin can help kick off the season here in with Loveland,” A-Basin marketing and communications director Leigh Hierholzer said.
Snowmaking cranked up at both resorts last week as temperatures dropped, and a layer of fresh snow dusted Summit County. The two ski areas raced to gain an 18-inch base of snow required to open by Thursday.
“The recent cold weather and currently snowy conditions allow for a tremendous start to the season at Arapahoe Basin,” Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Despite what will be a later-than-average opening, both natural snow and our snowmaking efforts have given us a great snow surface to start with. We cannot wait to have our guests back to enjoy the mountain.”
A-Basin’s Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, with access to intermediate trail High Noon from mid-mountain.
At Loveland, Lift 1 will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with access to the Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run trails to form one run just longer than a mile. Both resorts will offer a few terrain park features to kick off the season.
Hierholzer said the timing of opening more runs would depend on weather and snowmaking over the following days.
“It usually takes a few days to get the next run open,” she said. “Last year, we opened the second run four days after. It could take any amount of time depending on the snowmaking.”
This season’s opening date falls a few weeks short of last year, after A-Basin hurried to start running lifts on Oct. 17. Loveland opened later, on Nov. 1.
“We had to wait out some unseasonably warm temperatures, but Mother Nature came through as she always does,” Loveland marketing and communications director John Sellers said.
He added that the ski area had gotten 21 inches of snow in the last week, making for good coverage on the first run down the mountain.
FIRST DAY FESTIVITIES
While Loveland is keeping things simple for opening day, A-Basin has a few festivities planned for Thursday.
“It’s not a lot of bells and whistles — we’re just excited to fire the lifts up,” Sellers said.
A-Basin’s 6th Alley Bar & Grill will be open throughout the day, with live music from Todd Johnson, and mug club sales starting at 8 a.m. Mugs are $45 each and sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, for discounts at the 6th Alley Bar & Grill and a free beer to kick off the season.
Ski and board rentals will start at 8 a.m. and last until 4 p.m., and retail sales at Arapahoe Sports will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Legends Café at the base will serve breakfast, and Black Mountain Lodge at mid-mountain will be open for lunch.
A-Basin lift tickets can be purchased online at ArapahoeBasin.com. Adult tickets are $75 each, youth tickets (ages 15-18) are $64 each and child tickets (ages 6-14) are $36 each. Children ages five and under ski free.
At Loveland, early season lift tickets are $53 for adults and $25 for children ages 6-14. Children ages five and under ski free. Tickets can be purchased online at skiloveland.com.
Waiting for november
Several other Summit resorts have held off opening day for the first and second weeks of November. Copper Mountain Resort, which was originally set to open on Friday, Nov. 6, pushed back its opening day to Friday, Nov. 13 as the result of unseasonably warm temperatures.
“Our ever fickle business partner, Mother Nature, has been reluctant to let go of the fall season this year, “ Gary Rodgers, Copper president and general manager said in a statement. “Delaying Opening Day is a hard decision to make and not one we make lightly. We are eager to welcome our loyal guests back to Copper for the winter season on Nov. 13.”
With cooler weather and more snow forecasted for the upcoming weeks, Copper hopes to open the American Eagle Lift, with access to intermediate trails Rhapsody and Main Vein.
Due to warm temperatures and the U.S. Ski Team athletes’ training schedule, the First Tracks: U.S. Alpine Ski Team Naming has been rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21. The day’s events are set to include the Putnam Investments NASTAR Pacesetting Trials, the team naming announcement and autograph signing.
For updates on mountain conditions, check Copper Mountains Facebook and Twitter accounts and CopperColorado.com for updates. For questions concerning lift tickets or lodging, call 866-841-2841.
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