Most-read stories of 2016: Keystone reschedules opening day for Nov. 18, Breck to open soon after (No. 7)
December 25, 2016
Less than 24 hours after Keystone and Breckenridge announced indefinite delays for opening day, Keystone confirmed on Wednesday morning it will open on Nov. 18.
"Temperatures are indeed beginning to trend in our favor, and Keystone's mountain operations team was able to continue snowmaking operations again last night and into this morning," said Mike Goar, chief operating officer for Keystone Resort, in the Wednesday release. "With favorable overnight snowmaking temperatures forecast through next week, we are looking forward to continued progress toward opening day and providing guests with a great ski and ride experience."
Late on Nov. 8, the two Vail Resorts-owned properties decided to postpone both of their opening days until "resort officials feel confident they can open with a high-quality snow surface," according to a release from the parent company. Breckenridge still has not set an opening date.
The two Summit County-area resorts were scheduled to open for the 2016-17 ski season on Nov. 11. Keystone had already delayed opening day once this season, moving its first chair from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, while nearby Copper Mountain also delayed its opening day, moving from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18. Even though both resorts haven't been open to the public, local and international ski teams have been training on the upper portion of Copperopolis at Copper since Oct. 21.
"Snowmaking teams at both resorts have been hard at work getting ready for opening," Breckenridge's chief operating officer John Buhler said in a release on Nov. 8. "Cold temperatures allowed both resorts to make snow last night (Nov. 10), and we will continue to take advantage of temperatures conducive to our snowmaking and get the resorts open as soon as we can."
Near-record highs and very little snowfall have been the story of October and November in Colorado. On Oct. 22, Arapahoe Basin became the first ski area in North America to open for the season before a rash of temperatures in the 40s and 50s put a damper on snowmaking at Loveland Ski Area, Keystone, Breckenridge and other resorts across the state. On Nov. 7, Loveland Ski Area announced it will open with a top-to-bottom run on Nov. 10.
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While Colorado swelters, ski areas in California, the Pacific Northwest and across the East Coast are enjoying a snowy early season. Sunshine Village in Alberta, Canada opened with a 29-inch base on Nov. 2 — the resort's earliest first day in 30 years — and Mammoth Mountain in California is scheduled to open on Nov. 10 after several years of devastating drought conditions.
"We are dedicated to providing our guests with the best early-season conditions possible and will continue to focus our efforts on opening with a great ski and ride experience," Goar said in the Nov. 8 release. "We will let our guests know as soon as we have a new opening day for both resorts."
Snow forecasters from Open Snow, a Colorado-based forecasting website, note cooler weather should persist for the next five to 10 days, with a chance for precipitation after Nov. 15.
"We should finally see the door open for stronger storms across the western US around November 18," meteorologist Sam Collentine wrote in a post.