A-Basin opens earliest in nation | VailDaily.com

A-Basin opens earliest in nation

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailySkiers and snowboarders cruise down a strip of snow Wednesday during opening day at Arapahoe Basin.

ARAPAHOE BASIN ” This is the 13th year Tom Miller has camped overnight to be first person on the chair lift on opening day.

“We’ve spent as long as a week in the lot just waiting for first chair,” said Miller, also known as “Trailer Tom.”

So Miller and his friends, Jeff Meyer and Nate “Nate Dogggg” Nadler, all of Breckenridge, got “first chair” again this year.

Arapahoe Basin opened Wednesday, the earliest opening day in its 61-year history. At 9 a.m., skiers and snowboarders cheered as they boarded the Exhibition chair lift, and got off halfway up.

A couple snow storms and snow-making machines working almost around the clock made the earliest opening in the nation possible, said Leigh Heirholzer, spokeswoman for Arapahoe Basin.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Arapahoe Basin opens early for media exposure and because people were itching to ski, she said.

“You can tell by all the excitement today,” Heirholzer said. “So we just got the season rolling for Colorado and the whole nation.”

Arapahoe Basin’s parking lot was filled and Heirholzer said she had expected 1,000 people to show up. The mountain’s one run even had one 15-foot and another 30-foot rail for skiers and snowboarders to slide.

This was the third opening day for Clarissa Finks, of Breckenridge, who came for a couple “token runs,” she said.

Finks does it “for the event, obviously not for the snow,” she said.

Reed “The Spacecraft Bunny” Silberman’s first run was “pretty much the best snow of the season,” he said.

And despite the narrow, crowded High Noon run, Silberman’s ride was safe, he said.

“No one tried to kill each other,” he said.

The snow was great and there were no rocks, said Jeff Meyer, of Breckenridge.

“It feels good to finally get to do it again after waiting all summer,” he said.

After snowboarding, Breckenridge residents Lisa Ward and her fiance, Cordell Belcom, planned on hanging out at “The Beach,” a stretch of land near at the bottom lacking in sand and surf and big on grilling, drinking and blasting music.

“Luckily we don’t have to work today,” Ward said.

“That’s why we live here ” to snowboard,” she said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism