Winter is coming: Summit’s ski areas give updates as they begin preparing for the upcoming season
Over the last few weeks, Summit County has been a sight to behold. Although the county is still painted with gold and yellow leaves, many are excited as they glance up at the snowy peaks of the Tenmile Range and surrounding mountains.
When compared to historical records, Summit County has not seen as much natural snow, but temperatures have begun to dip low enough for most of the county’s ski areas to start the process of making snow to build up their snowpack.
Out of the four ski resorts in Summit County, three have started to make snow ahead of the 2022-23 ski season.
Keystone Ski Resort fired up its snowmaking equipment for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 9. The resort has continued to make snow when temperatures have allowed, and the next few days look favorable for more snowmaking, officials say.
“With automated, energy-efficient snowmaking equipment that can detect humidity and temperature in real-time, our team is able to make snow the moment an optimal window opens,” Keystone Ski Resort communications manager Max Winter said.
Breckenridge Ski Resort has not started making snow ahead of the winter season, but the resort’s team has been working to get the slopes ready for the upcoming season. If there are favorable conditions, Breckenridge might be able to begin making snow later this week.
Breckenridge is scheduled to open on Nov. 11.
Copper Mountain Resort started making snow on the upper part of Copper Mountain on Tuesday, Oct. 4
“We’ve closely monitored conditions and capitalized on the cold weather windows whenever possible,” senior communications manager at Copper Mountain Resort Loryn Roberson said. “Copper Mountain is preparing to host early-season race training starting later this month.”
Copper Mountain is the only resort in the state of Colorado to serve as an official training center for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, offering opportunities for Alpine, snowboard and freeski athletes. The resort will open to the public for its 50th anniversary season on Nov. 14.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has made snow twice so far this season, once on Sunday, Oct. 9, and again on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Senior communications manager Katherine Fuller said conditions have been too warm to make snow more frequently than that, but the resort is hopeful that conditions will comply over the next few days.
Both A-Basin and Keystone do not have a set opening day but plan to open as soon as possible.
Just outside of Summit County, Loveland Ski Area started making snow on the Catwalk and Mambo ski runs in the early hours of Wednesday, Oct. 12. The guns continued to make snow until about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the ski area is hoping to make more snow in the days to come.
Beyond the excitement of ski runs becoming blanketed in snow, Summit’s ski resorts have also shared insights what can be expected on the slopes this upcoming season.
The 2022-23 season will be a season of returns for Keystone.
For the first time since the 2019 winter season, the world’s largest mountain-top snow fort will make its appearance at Keystone. In addition to the snow fort located at the top of Keystone, the resort will also have a second snow fort and fun zone located at the Mountain House base area.
Keystone’s Last Lift Bar will also return this year to the Mountain House base area while an expanded Timber Ridge Lodge will open for the upcoming season.
As part of Copper’s 50th anniversary season, the resort will be hosting a variety of resort activities, promotions and custom 50th season items throughout the season.
Most notably, Copper will host a 50th anniversary party on Dec. 3 to celebrate the figures and moments that have taken place at “The Athlete’s Mountain” over the last half century.
“We’re also thrilled to offer another robust schedule of events this season, with exciting happenings taking place nearly every weekend throughout the season,” Roberson said. “Copper Mountain will host two World Cups in December: the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota.”
Copper will also be moving Red’s Backyard from the base area to the bottom of Central Park to improve the user experience. Guests can expect to see construction on Copper’s new mid-mountain lodge at the top of American Eagle lift. The lodge will be called The Aerie and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023.
A-basin will debut its new Lenawee Express high-speed, six-pack lift that replaced a slow-speed triple chair. The lift will service a large portion of A-Basin’s terrain as well as two restaurants.
The new lift will have a much faster lift line,” Fuller said. “Ride time will be four minutes instead of nine to 10 minutes, and the weight of the six-person chair means it’s much less likely to be affected by wind.”
A-Basin will also officially open a German restaurant named Steilhang Hut. The restaurant will be located just above the mid-mountain point and will specialize in German classics like sausages, pretzels, pastries and beers. Steilhang Hut will open around Thanksgiving.
Lastly, A-Basin has plans to reopen its European bistro, il Rifugio. Last season, il Rifugio was renovated in order to double its size and offer table service. It is scheduled to open around Christmas.
Over the summer, Breckenridge’s Rip’s Ride double lift was replaced with a high-speed quad lift.
“This upgrade will enhance the learning experience for first-timers and beginners on Peak 8, allowing for more time spent on the snow and convenient access for guests at our ski and snowboard school,” Winter said. “The upgraded chair will also provide guests with easier and more convenient access from Rip’s Ride over to Peak 9.”
Over the summer, Breckenridge also installed 110 new, low-energy snow guns across Peaks 7, 8, 9 and 10. The majority of the snow guns will blanket Peak 8 and target 4 O’Clock trail, which provides skiers and riders the opportunity to ski directly into town.
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