Arapahoe Basin in Colorado says it will open for the season this Sunday, possibly sparking a race among other US areas to open before it and claim the title of “first in North America to open for the 21-22 ski season.
*** Update: Wolf Creek says it will open a day before A Basin, on Saturday 16th October ***
After along hot, spring, summer and early Autumn there’s been unusually heavy snowfall for the first-half of October coupled with low temperatures giving excellent snowmaking conditions. Many resorts like Mammoth in California and snowbird in Utah have announced snowmaking is underway whilst Keystone says its system is now running 24-7.
“Black Mountain Express will be running and skiers and riders can cruise High Noon. We just might have a few features in the Banana Terrain Park. These are exciting times. It is so fun to get chairlifts spinning again. I can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces on the hill,” said Arapahoe Basin’s COO Alan Henceroth.
The areas in Utah are reporting some of the heaviest snowfall with Solitude saying yesterday that it had had 33 inches (83cm) of snowfall this week. People have already been hiking up to ski at resorts like Alta and Colorado’s Silverton Mountain ran its lifts to allow ski patrol members to enjoy the powder there earlier this week (pictured below).
The main contenders to open in the next few days include Arapahoe Basin’s fellow Colorado resorts Keystone which has announced that it is now snowmaking around the clock and Loveland which has had more than a foot (30cm) of snowfall, but with snow falling widely and cold weather for snowmaking there are many more contenders than usual this year.
International leisure travel has resumed to Canada, where the first ski areas are expected to open around Banff early next month. For the USA it has been announced international leisure travel will resume from the EU, UK and some other countries in November after a 20-month border closure although the precise date has not yet been announced.