A-Basin, Loveland race for first tracks | VailDaily.com

A-Basin, Loveland race for first tracks

Kim Marquis
Special to the Daily A skier gets his tracks much earlier in the season, as he catches air last Saturday in Silverton.

ARAPAHOE BASIN – Jen Brill chuckles at Summit County’s friendly competition each fall between ski areas who race to open first for the season. It is a mighty snow-making battle.Brill, who owns Silverton Mountain in southwest Colorado, has been skiing on natural snow under her lift since Labor Day weekend.”Competition is healthy,” she said. “We are lucky that our mountain is at such a high elevation.”

Silverton’s lift was closed Wednesday for maintenance. Brill said the area will open for the season around Thanksgiving. Although the lift at Silverton served skiers last week, the competition for season-opening bragging rights will rage between areas closer to home. Arapahoe Basin laid down the gauntlet Wednesday and challenged Loveland to another battle-to-be-first for the 2004-05 season. With its new $1.2 million snow-making system, it is the area’s second consecutive season in the race.”We’re going to try to beat them this time,” said A-Basin spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer.

Last year Loveland opened first on Oct. 28. A-Basin was on its heels two days later.Ainsley Kasten, spokeswoman for Loveland Ski Area, seemed nonchalant about the competition.”Is there a race this year?” she asked.

Loveland opened first the last four years running. Kasten said the aim to open in mid-October is “business as usual.” The area was the first to make snow in the state in 1967.Both women acknowledged that Mother Nature plays a big role in the competition. Snow-making will begin this month if nighttime temperatures are cool enough.Vail Colorado

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