Recent snow, frigid temps aid Summit County ski areas in opening up new terrain ahead of schedule
There’s nothing ski areas love more than unexpected snow mixed with frigid temperatures. Not only does that create ideal skiing and riding conditions — making guests happy — but it also allows the ski areas to make a significant jump on its snowmaking operations.
“I think we were all very pleasantly surprised with the snow that came through this week,” said Sara Lococo, senior communications manager at Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort. “It’s a good reminder that forecasts can change and can surprise you for the better.”
From Sunday night through Tuesday morning, Summit County’s four ski areas saw about a foot of powder blanketing the slopes, and subfreezing temperatures also allowed the ski areas to create snow around the clock.
With forecasts showing temperatures below freezing temperatures and up to 8 inches of snow by Friday morning, Summit County’s ski areas are preparing to open up more terrain in response to the weather.
Vail Resorts properties
Lococo said this year’s early season is exceeding expectations at Vail Resorts-owned slopes in Summit County.
“The cold temps that we have been seeing — and we are gonna see for the rest of this week — are awesome and what we need right now,” Lococo said. “Early season is you know, heavily dependent on snowmaking and getting that foundation on our primary trails and base areas.”
Lococo went on to further say that early season snowmaking is foundational in ensuring that the ski resorts stay open until late spring.
Both Keystone and Breckenridge have been making snow around the clock, allowing more terrain to open ahead of schedule.
“We definitely have new terrain coming online at both Keystone and Breck,” Lococo said. “Keystone just opened up Ida’s Way, meaning that we have top to bottom beginners skiing and riding access from the top of Dercum down to the bottom of River Run.”
Additionally, Keystone will make the Spring Dipper trail available on Thursday morning, along with an expanded early season terrain park to the side of the Spring Dipper trail.
At Breckenridge, crew and staff have been working to open up Peak 9 ahead of the weekend, adding to the runs currently available on Peak 8.
“It’s an exciting early season to see the snow and the cold temperatures shaping up the way they have,” Lococo said. “I’ve been in Summit County for six years now, and this is definitely one of the better starts to the season that I have seen in a long time. So I think it’s just exciting to see winter kicking off in this way.”
Currently, Peak 8 is the only option for uphill access between Breckenridge and Keystone Resort. Adventure seekers can skin from the base of Springmeier to Vista Haus and back down, but skiers and riders must stay on the designated paths. Guests are encouraged to follow all posted signs and call the uphill access hotline at 970-547-5627 before venturing out for uphill access because skiing and riding in the wrong area can result in punishments.
Copper Mountain Resort
Similar to Breckenridge and Keystone, Copper Mountain Resort has been making snow on a consistent basis.
“The cold front has been really beneficial for our snowmaking,” communication coordinator Olivia Butrymovich said. “It allows us to keep the guns on more consistently, and that will help us get more terrain open sooner. Which is a great sign for the season.”
Butrymovich said that Copper hopes to open up more terrain ahead of its Snowsation Festival this weekend, but as of Wednesday morning could not comment on what terrain will specifically be opening.
As of opening day this past Monday, Copper had the American Eagle, Excelerator, EZ Rider and Pitchfork lifts all in operation with the Rhapsody, Fair Play, Main Vein and Ptarmigan trails open to the public. Additionally, the EZ Rider and Green Acres beginner areas were open to beginner skiers and riders.
To keep up to date on terrain openings and for more information, visit CopperColorado.com.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
The cold temperatures have allowed Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to make snow 24/7. The constant snowmaking and the influx of natural snow helped A-Basin to open the Molly Hogan learning hill ahead of schedule on Saturday, Nov. 12.
“No timing yet on more terrain,” senior communications manager Katherine Fuller said. “We are making snow on the upper mountain and are still aiming to get the new Lenawee Express open by the end of November — but not by Thanksgiving.”
A-Basin has also wrapped up the initial round of snowmaking on the lower mountain, allowing them to open uphill access on Nov. 12, a little earlier than usual.
To purchase lift tickets or find out more information, visit ArapahoeBasin.com.
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