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Ski season ends on high note

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County resorts opened with several inches of fresh snow Sunday morning, making closing day bittersweet for many skiers and boarders.

“Today was great,” said Denver resident Greg Sweet. “You couldn’t ask for a better way to end the season.

After several years of drought, the ski season likely exceeded hopes of both snowriders and resort officials this year.



“We weren’t expecting it to be as good as it was today,” said Ivan Erwin of Bailey, who skied Copper Sunday with his wife, Linda.

“It’s two different worlds: this season compared to the end of last season,” said Beth Jahnigen, Copper Mountain communications coordinator.



Despite worries that there might not be enough water for snowmaking, the season began with a running start – above-average snows blanketed resorts in early November. And at Copper Mountain, Keystone and Breckenridge, the season ended on an equally high note, thanks to a March blizzard and consistent snows since then.

“The conditions on the mountain are unbelievable for the end of April,” Jahnigen said.

Copper Mountain, which received 360 inches of snow this year, closed with an 80-inch base at mid-mountain. Breckenridge reported an 81-inch mid-mountain base and Keystone 60 inches.

“We’ve seen some of the best spring skiing conditions we’ve ever seen,” said Mike Lee, communications manager at Keystone.

“For a year that started with the threat of war, and then war, and a really horrible economy, everybody’s really pleased,” said Dawn Doty, communications manager at Breckenridge.

In the words of Gene Dayton, who operates the Frisco and Breckenridge Nordic centers with his wife, Therese, the end of the season was not because of lack of snow – it’s lack of people.

“Conditions are still good,” Dayton said. “It’s the end of probably the most spectacular season, I’ve seen in 36 years … as far as the consistency.”

The Breckenridge Nordic Center – the last local Nordic center open this year – closed Sunday. But some Nordic skiers weren’t ready to see the season end.

A number of skiers called the Nordic center this weekend asking to extend the season, Dayton said. If the snow persists, the staff will continue to groom some trails, though the lodge will remain closed.

Snowriders not prepared to call it quits can head to Arapahoe Basin, which is scheduled to be open until July 4 this year.

“We’re still in full winter conditions,” said Leigh Hierholzer, A-Basin’s director of marketing. “The last couple of weeks, especially, have been really amazing … so we’re just getting started.”

A-Basin reported an 81 mid-mountain base Sunday with 100 percent of its terrain open, including the East Wall.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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