Opening day vibes: Keystone Ski Resort welcomes skiers and riders for the first time this season
For the second time this week, a Summit County ski area opened for the 2022-23 winter season.
After several consecutive days of snow and frigid temperatures throughout the week, Keystone Ski Resort determined it had enough snow to host its opening day on Friday, Oct. 28.
Much like Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s opening day Sunday, skiers and riders came out in droves with their freshly waxed skis and boards. At the front of the line was Breckenridge’s Nate “Nate Dogggg” Nadler and Tom “Trailer Tom” Miller.
For the second time this week, the opening day crowd skied behind Nadler and Miller
The duo claimed the first chair at A-Basin after camping out at the base area for several days, and the pair claimed the first chair at Keystone after camping out since Thursday morning.
Behind Nadler and Miller were a couple of guests getting in on their first opening day of the season.
Motivated by the opening day vibes at Keystone, Kirin Kawamoto got out of his bed in Denver in the wee hours of the morning to solidify his spot near the front of the line at 3 a.m.
“The vibe around here on opening day is awesome,” Kawamoto said. “It is so much fun to be around these people.”
It may have been early in the morning, but Keystone employees, skiers and snowboarders smiled as they stood in line, munching on free donuts in the early morning hours before the sun peeked over the surrounding mountains.
“I love the opening day energy. There is nothing quite like it,” senior communications manager Sara Lococo said. “I think everybody has been waiting all summer to get their turns in again. Between that and the free donuts, hot cocoa and live music, I think it really sets a fun atmosphere.”
Once loaded on the River Run gondola, guests grew more excited as they were transported to the top of the Schoolmarm ski run.
At the top of Schoolmarm, guests were delighted to once again overlook Summit County with snow beneath their feet.
Eugene Stelmach was most excited about getting in his first runs of the season and to start adding to his ski day totals for the season.
“I’m shooting for 70 days this year,” Stelmach said. “I had knee surgery last year, so I just want to get out a lot, have a good season and stay healthy.”
Beyond having almost 2 miles of terrain open via Schoolmarm to the Montezuma chairlift, Keystone also had a hike-to terrain park, a mountaintop DJ and a beginner learning area alongside the top portion of Schoolmarm.
The fresh snow from the last few days, combined with work from Keystone’s snowmakers resulted in pretty good snow conditions for opening day.
“In the early season, it is all about the snowmaking,” Lococo said. “Snowmaking and the snowmakers are really the heroes of the early season, and that is how we opened. The natural snow is awesome because it gets people excited for winter, but in early season we are really looking for the cold temperatures.”
Lococo said that Keystone will continue to make snow when it can and hopes to open up a continuous run to the River Run Village base area in the next week or so.
Lococo also offered an update to the Bergman Bowl project that came to halt due to unauthorized road construction over the summer.
“We were hoping that things would be a little different this winter, but we worked all summer with the Forest Service and that went really well,” Lococo said. “This season we will have hike-to skiing and riding in Bergman Bowl as well as the shuttle cat. We are very optimistic that next summer we will get that lift in and have skiing and riding (in) the ’23 to ’24 (season).”
Keystone Ski Resort plans to keep the stoke high throughout the rest of the opening day weekend. Keystone will host a Halloween celebration on Saturday, Oct. 29, with trick-or-treating, costumes and scavenger hunts.
Keystone will also host Pass-holder First Tracks in November and December as well as bring back the world’s largest mountaintop snow fort for the first time since 2019.
To purchase a lift ticket or view Keystone’s full calendar of events, visit KeystoneResort.com.
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