Although no ski areas have officially opened for the 2017-18 ski season yet in North America (well it is still September…), two centres did offer some lift-served skiing at the weekend.
Mt Bachelor in Oregon created a small terrain park at its base and opened it top local snowsports enthusiasts on Saturday and Sunday (pictured below). A spokesperson for the resort said they believed Saturday, 23rd September was their earliest ever opening date.
In addition Silverton Mountain in Colorado ran its lifts on Sunday so that some staff could access early snowfall there and some September powder conditions (pictured top).
These limited openings followed snowfall across Western North America at the end of last week which led to accumulations of up to 40cm.
Ski resorts in the US are expected to start opening – subject to weather conditions – from mid-October onwards.
High resorts in Colorado like Arapahoe Basin and Loveland will open if there’s adequate natural snowfall to do so and/or low enough temperatures to allow for snowmaking to build an adequate base.
Arapahoe Basin has in fact just announced it has started snowmaking,
“Mother Nature dropped the temps and said, “Go!” A-Basin’s snowmakers kicked off the snowmaking season just after 8:00 p.m. Sunday and made snow for over 12 hours. According to our snowmaking team, the first night was wildly successful in terms of both weather and output. Our plan is to continue snowmaking tonight as long as the weather cooperates, and then to keep an eye on temperatures for the rest of the week,” said A Basin’s Adrienne Saia Isaac.
Arapahoe Basin does not set an opening date; opening is completely dependent on weather and snowmaking.
The ski area has been the first to open in Colorado every season since 2011-12 (tying with Loveland in 2015). Last season, A-Basin began making snow on October 3, 2016 and opened on October 21, 2016.
It can take approximately two weeks of optimal snowmaking to make a skiable base of snow on the intermediate High Noon run, the first run to open at Arapahoe Basin.
Natural snow helps the centre open sooner.