The 2019-20 ski season in North America has got underway this weekend at two of the world’s highest resorts up in Colorado’s Summit County.
Three ski areas – Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Loveland – had all been snowmaking and building up bases here for more than a week before heavy snowfall arrived late on Wednesday and continued through Thursday, bringing up to about a foot (30cm) of fresh snow to the highest slopes.
Keystone was the first to announce it would open, saying on Friday that it would open next morning, Saturday 12th October.
At that point Arapahoe Basin announced it would be opening too, but even sooner, just a few hours after it’s announcement at 3.30pm on Friday 11th. It was open for less than two hours that day but took the title of first to open in the US and indeed with nowhere currently open in Canada, the first in North America too.
Meanwhile Loveland decided not to open this weekend.
Arapahoe Basin ran the Black Mountain Express Lift servicing the High Noon intermediate run with lift tickets priced at $15 at the ticket window.
The lift reopened at 8:30am on Saturday. A-Basin is one of the contenders for the title of ‘longest ski and ride season in the world’ for a resort without a glacier, usually staying open to early June, although this year it continued winter operations right through to US Independence Day, July 4, 2019.
Last season A Basin opened a week later on October 19, 2018, although last season another Colorado area, Wolf Creek, was first to open after a big natural snow storm.
A-Basin was only closed for 99 days between last seasons and this, the shortest amount of time in its history.
“We did this because the snow is really good, our people are anxious and we are ready to go. We thought it would be fun,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin COO.
Arapahope basin also opened The Banana Terrain Park at the weekend with four features.
A-Basin management say the centre will continue to make snow as conditions permit with the goal of opening more terrain as soon as possible.