‘It is a powder day’: Loveland Ski Area opens amid snowstorm, making for soft turns and thrilling runs
It may have taken Loveland Ski Area a little longer than anticipated to open up for the 2022-23 ski and ride season, but that did not make the opening day celebration on Thursday, Nov. 3, any less special.
With classic rock songs blaring, snow flurries falling and Otis, Loveland Ski Area’s avalanche search and rescue dog, barking, guests loaded the first chairs of the season on the Chet’s Dream ski lift.
For the third time this season, a pair of familiar faces were at the front of the line. After claiming first chair at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Keystone Ski Resort, Breckenridge’s Nate “Nate Dogggg” Nadler and Tom “Trailer Tom” Miller were some of the first guests of the season to ride up to the top of the ski area’s opening day, top-to-bottom run.
The one run was anything but a “white strip of death.” Rather, it was a wide, snow-filled run, which allowed skiers and riders of all levels to spread out across the slope. With already 18 inches at the base, early morning snow showers added another layer of snow for perhaps the best opening day conditions so far this season.
“It’s a little later than normal, but we started making snow in early October, opened today and look at it right now — it is a powder day,” marketing manager Dustin Schaefer said. “We are so excited to be open. So excited to see all these smiling faces on the lift. It is going to be a great snow year.”
The ski trails Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run — which make up the one, top-to-bottom run — were absent of any major icy sections. They were graced by the snow gods with about 1 inch of soft, powdery snow.
“It’s a pretty good opening day,” Nick Golder from the Denver area said of his first opening day of the season. “We are going to have snow from now until like five tonight. It’s like somebody just turned (the snow) on. I would rather have an opening day where it is dropping like this.”
As Golder and others got ready to complete their inaugural runs of the season at Loveland, many people vocally expressed how happy and excited they were to be back taking Chet’s Dream ski lift to ascend the mountain.
Many discussed how much the summer hiking paid off in keeping them in shape for the winter ski season, while others compared the opening day experience to other ski resorts.
Golder in particular talked about his plans for a special day off from his usual duties as a stay-at-home dad.
“Just cruising man,” Golder said of the hopes for his ski day. “I am a stay-at-home dad, so to be able to come up today with my wife watching the baby — (I’m) clearing the head space, taking a cruise and trying not to get hurt.”
Golder also expressed his hopes of having several powder days throughout the rest of the season.
“I grew up riding in the Midwest in Michigan and Indiana with manmade hills that are ice,” Golder said. “Any type of condition on a real mountain is so much fun.”
Loveland Ski Area employees kept the lift line moving at a rapid rate keeping the stoke high for the snowy morning.
“It’s always fun on the first day to get the fist bumps, hugs and seeing the smiles,” Schaefer said. “And if you look at the lift line — there is no lift line — which is awesome.”
Throughout the rest of the season, Loveland Ski Area will be celebrating its 85th season after the ski area started up operations in 1937. The feat makes Loveland the state’s second-oldest ski area still in operation behind Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs.
This season, Loveland will have two new additions to the ski area.
“We are excited to be opening up our new Loveland Valley lodge,” Schaefer said. “We are expanding it by three times the capacity, so there will be a beautiful ski and ride school for the children there.”
Over the summer months, Loveland also upgraded Lift 6 — which was over 40 years old.
“We have upgraded the lift to a fix-grip triple, and it’s going to make things much smoother up on the mountain,” Schaefer said.
With opening day now in the rearview mirror, Loveland Ski Area will now be open seven days a week. Lift operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays.
Loveland hopes to stay open until early May. Early season lift tickets are $99 for adults and $37 for children six to 14 years old.
Loveland will continue to make snow when weather conditions comply and will open runs accordingly.
Four pack passes and season passes are currently on sale. To purchase a lift ticket or a season pass, visit SkiLoveland.com.
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