Summit County resort report: Breckenridge, Copper Mountain plan for more terrain for holiday weekend
With sunshine in the forecast for the holiday weekend, more terrain opening by the day and snow expected next week, area resorts and ski and ride enthusiasts have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Early reports are calling for the terrain opening to continue into the weekend.
“It’s really been a phenomenal early season in terms of snowfall, and I’m hoping this trend continues through December and beyond,” said Adrienne Saia Isaac, communications director for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.
While no records have been broken, it’s no secret that Summit County ski areas are already off to a much stronger start than last year.
“Last season Copper Mountain saw 8 inches in the entire month of November, and our current running total in November is over 2½ feet more than that (38 inches),” Austyn Williams, spokeswoman for Copper Mountain, said.
“We are thrilled to have this terrain and these condition at Breck heading into the holiday weekend,” Kristen Petitt-Stewart of Breckenridge Ski Resort said of plans for opening additional lifts.
Here’s a quick cruise around the resort circuit to see what’s new for the holiday weekend.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
It may have been the last to open in Summit County, but Breckenridge has since charged ahead, leading the pack with reported 435 open acres and an additional 100 expected this weekend.
The terrain-opening bonanza started Monday with the T-bar to access the Horseshoe Bowl above tree line on Peak 8.
“While it is not unheard of to open the T-bar lift the last weekend of November, it has only happened a handful of times in recent memory,” Petitt-Stewart said, adding that the last time it happened was in 2010.
The resort announced Tuesday it plans to open the Beaver Run SuperChair to access Peak 9 starting on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. The Mercury SuperChair — also on Peak 8 — is expected to follow suit on Saturday.
Breckenridge recently added a Twitter account devoted solely to ski conditions and terrain news. Follow the updates on twitter at @BreckConditions.
Copper Mountain Resort
With the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix ski and snowboard half-pipe and slopestyle competitions — which this year will be a part of the U.S. Olympic Team selection process — less than a month away, Copper Mountain is putting the finishing touches on its full-size half-pipe. Resort officials said it may open to the public as early as Wednesday. Copper has traditionally boasted the first half-pipe open in North America. When it opens, it will be accessible to the public daily after 12:30 p.m. U.S. and international ski and snowboard team members have the pipe reserved in the mornings for training.
Williams said the resort also plans to open the Rendezvous chair on the upper mountain in time for the holiday weekend.
“Last season this lift didn’t start turning until Dec. 23. Credit goes to our hardworking patrol and snowmakers; they are working around the clock to get terrain open for our guests,” she said.
Currently 284 of the resort’s 2,465 acres of terrain are open. The Super Bee Chair in the East Village will be open to the public to access the main mountain, but terrain under Super Bee remains closed for the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center until mid-December.
Woodward at Copper, the resort’s indoor jump training facility, will offer free public sessions this week starting on Friday. Schedule information is available at www.woodwardatcopper.com
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Officials at A-Basin reported 5 inches of fresh snow over the last few days. The ski area currently has 214 acres of terrain open.
Isaac said that includes 100 percent of its beginner terrain.
“We have opened terrain quite quickly this season,” she said. “Generally, we aim to open our beginner terrain and the Molly Hogan lift around this time, but this season we were able to open it on Nov. 9.”
Resort COO Alan Henceroth credited favorable early-season conditions for snowmaking as part of the reason the ski area has been able to open terrain so quickly.
Keystone Resort announced Tuesday that it will be increasing its open terrain from 167 to 291 acres starting Wednesday. It also plans to start night-skiing operations that evening and through the weekend. According to the resort website, 47 percent of its beginner terrain is open, with an additional 19 percent of its intermediate terrain. None of its expert terrain is currently open.
Loveland Ski Area
Loveland Ski Area is currently reporting 275 acres of open terrain with the recent opening of Chair 7.
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