Arapahoe Basin ski area in Colorado has resorted to selling lift tickets for its re-opening day, 27th May, by lottery after an online ticket reservation system failed to cope with demand.

“Due to incredibly high volume, we are not able to use our original reservation system. Access to Arapahoe Basin, at this time, will be via a random drawing. We are only doing one day at a time. …No need to rush. One entry per person. No purchase necessary to enter this random drawing,” an online statement posted on the 26th said.

Those who win in the lottery will then be contacted have the option to purchase up to four $99 lift tickets.

Arapahoe Basin is the fourth US ski area to re-open, more than a month after Mt Baldy in California and nearly a fortnight after Mt Bachelor and Timbereline in Oregon. 

Mt Baldy and Mt Bachelor have since closed again, but another area, Beartooth Basin in Montana, will re-open this weekend for its scheduled summerski season.

Currently it is believed only six outdoor ski areas are open on Earth – two in Norway, two in the US, one in Japan and one in the Alps – the lowest number for around 50 years.

However more areas are due to open in Austria, Norway, Japan and the US from the weekend and then in France, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand and Lesotho in the first weeks of June.