Keystone, Arapahoe Basin days away from opening as October snow accumulates
FRISCO — Snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday across the Colorado Rockies, bringing a few inches of snow to towns in Summit County. But the real excitement is higher up, where the combination of natural snow, low temperatures and around-the-clock snowmaking means Summit County ski areas are only days from opening.
At 9:30 a.m., Arapahoe Basin Ski Area had about 3-4 inches of natural snow, according to Louis Skowyra, director of lifts and slopes maintenance.
“The snow is coming in like everybody expected,” Skowyra said. “The temperatures are good — good for snowmaking. We’re really banking on having a couple good nights of snowmaking and opening as soon as possible.”
Skowyra said he is confident A-Basin will open very soon.
“We’re really close,” Skowyra said. “I think we’re going to see some openings around the county. Hopefully, we’re skiing here in a couple days.”
Even with some higher, above-freezing temperatures forecast later in the week, Skowyra said once the ski area opens, it will stay open. It has never opened and then closed down, he said.
“Once we get open, we’re open,” Skowyra said. “That’s our standard. We don’t just open the second we can. We make sure it’s durable and sustainable. When A-Basin opens, we intend to stay open until June or July.”
The biggest surprise from the storm was Keystone Resort’s summit snow stake, which showed about 7 or 8 inches Thursday morning.
“With sustained cold temperatures, a new automated snowmaking system and a little help from Mother Nature, Keystone is getting ready to kick off the season any day now,” Jessie Vandenhouten, communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek, wrote in an email.
Over at Loveland Ski Area, spokesman John Sellers reported 5 inches of snow at 10 a.m.
“Snow is great, but the consistent cold temperatures this storm is bringing is even better,” Sellers said.
The snow is expected to continue throughout the day and into the evening Thursday, bringing the total to as much as 8 inches of snow in the mountains.
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