Arapahoe Basin, Keystone start making snow, with a rival not far behind. Which will open first? | VailDaily.com

Arapahoe Basin, Keystone start making snow, with a rival not far behind. Which will open first?

John Meyer, Denver Post
Arapahoe Basin turned on its snow guns on Oct. 2 at 5:15 a.m. on the High Noon intermediate run for its first official snowmaking day of the 2019-20 season. (Provided by Arapahoe Basin)

Only 90 days after closing the longest ski season in Colorado on the Fourth of July, Arapahoe Basin began snowmaking operations Wednesday, and with more intrigue than in past years. For the first time in two decades, Keystone tied A-Basin in the annual race to make snow first, cranking up a new snowmaking system it hopes will change the early season dynamic on the Front Range.

For the first time since 2001, Keystone aims to get back in the running with Arapahoe Basin and Loveland to become the first Colorado ski area to open for the season. With that goal in mind, resort management significantly upgraded its snowmaking operation as part of a bid by Vail Resorts to offer the state’s longest ski season between its two Summit County holdings, Keystone and Breckenridge. This year, Breckenridge is slated to remain open through Memorial Day, as it did last season.

Loveland tested its snowguns overnight and plans to begin making snow Wednesday night, according to spokesman John Sellers.

“I think the race to open is a lot of fun,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer. “It’s always good to be open. The reality for us is that the very biggest race is the race within ourselves to be ready, to be poised to have our equipment in top working order and to take advantage of every single minute of good snowmaking weather.”

Arapahoe Basin, which was open longer than any other Colorado resort last season (Oct. 19-July 4), previously was a pass partner with Vail Resorts for more than two decades, but A-Basin management severed that relationship and left Epic Pass at the conclusion of last season. In August, it joined the rival Ikon Pass collection of resorts.

Read more via The Denver Post.