Arapahoe Basin opens first in tight contest to start 2019–20 ski season in Colorado |

Arapahoe Basin opens first in tight contest to start 2019–20 ski season in Colorado

Vail locals Matt Hughes, left, and Selena Colea at Arapahoe Basin on Friday. The resort became the first in North America to begin operations for the season when it opened for an abbreviated session on Friday evening.
John LaConte |

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area made a late save Friday in a close contest to claim bragging rights as first to open for the 2019-20 season in North America.

The Summit County ski area opened for an abbreviated session on Friday, foiling nearby competitor Keystone Resort, which had announced earlier in the day that they would be starting lift service on Saturday.

“We did this because the snow is really good, our people are anxious, and we are ready to go,” A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth wrote in his blog. “We thought it would be fun.”

At Arapahoe Basin again for the first chair of the season was “Nate Dogggg” Nadler, a recognizable Opening Day personality who claimed 20 straight years of being on the first chair of the season at A-Basin in 2015. Nadler was camping out at Keystone awaiting Opening Day when he received word that A-Basin would open first. He headed up the hill and was able to claim first chair at A-Basin instead.

Camping at Keystone

After closing for the 2018-19 season July 4, A-Basin was closed for only 99 days, the shortest off-season in its history, according to a news release.

Vail local Taylor Parris was on his snowboard for the July 4 close and the Oct. 11 opening. Following his final run at A-Basin on Friday, Parris made the trip to Keystone with Vail locals Cesar Hermosillo, Jenn Natbony, Tyler Moore and Liz Westbrook to spend the night awaiting the first full day of the season on Saturday.

“We had planned to camp out at Keystone, but when we heard A-Basin was opening first we came up there instead,” Hermosillo said.

“But the plan to camp at Keystone is definitely still on,” he added.

Vail locals Matt Hughes, Selena Colea, Josh Addelson and Grant Troester were also skiing at A-Basin on Friday. Hughes said he was actually on Vail Mountain when he heard A-Basin was opening.

“I saw the Instagram post and immediately left,” he said with a laugh.

Keystone will open at 9 a.m. while A-Basin will resume operations at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

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