Beaver Creek’s season off to a sunny start |

Beaver Creek’s season off to a sunny start

Melanie Wong
Dawes Stephanoff drops in to Rose Bowl Wednesday to take advantage of Beaver Creek's opening day. Snow conditions were variable, but overall the best opening day since 2002.
Townsend Bessent | |

BEAVER CREEK — The hot chocolate and tunes were flowing freely at Beaver Creek’s Opening Day on Wednesday as skiers and snowboarders lined up to usher in the newest ski season.

Temperatures were in the 40s on Wednesday morning, and skiers and riders enjoyed blue bird skies for most of the morning. A live DJ played at the bottom of Centennial Express and chefs passed out cookies as the crowd counted down to 9 a.m., cheering as the first chair loaded.

Among the first in line was Cesar Hermosillo and his friends, who had arrived well before dawn to stake out first chair. It was Hermosillo’s fourth first chair on Opening Day of the year — he also snagged the first spot in Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Vail. It was also his fourth year in a row being first in line at Beaver Creek.

Needless to say, he was excited for the season.

“We had a great Opening Day last weekend at Vail, so we’re just keeping it going,” he said.

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Like many others, he made a beeline for Rose Bowl’s ungroomed runs.

“You get powder hungry when you see something like that. You just want to go for it,” he said.

Others were happy to see the generous terrain available for early season — Beaver Creek opened with 720 acres, including Rose Bowl and parts of Bachelor Gulch.

“Being up here for almost nine years now, I was really excited for the amount of terrain that was open. We skied Vail yesterday and the coverage was great there, too. The season’s off to a great start,” said Jeff Chmielewski.

Opening Day, no matter the snow conditions, is a tradition for many. It’s an added bonus when there is good snow and more runs are open.


“I had to make at least one Opening Day. I haven’t made one yet this year,” said Chmielewski. “The excitement is electric. I didn’t have to be first chair, but I wanted to be here when everybody cheers.”

“You have to do it — it’s our home mountain,” said Zach Daniels, who works at Beaver Creek.

Boulder resident Scott Woodard drove up Tuesday night so he could catch Beaver Creek’s opening. He says he’s looking forward to Larkspur Bowl and Grouse Mountain opening soon, and hopes that the snow in the forecast for the rest of the week will allow more terrain to open.

“For me, it’s worth it to come up for Opening Day because I know I can ski natural snow that hasn’t been skied on. It’s been sitting there for a month waiting. It’s all about the snow,” he said.

The Opening Day festivities continued with the 12th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, in which five finalists baked up a total of 5,000 cookies for hungry voters. Beaver Creek will also hold its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and fireworks display on Friday.

Meanwhile, Vail Mountain also opened more terrain on Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,360 acres. On Wednesday, Vail started operating Gopher Hill (No. 12), Sourdough Express (No. 14) and Cascade Village Lift (No. 20).

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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