Loveland, A-Basin open Wednesday |

Loveland, A-Basin open Wednesday

Bill Scanlon
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
Photo courtesy Loveland Ski AreaLoveland Ski Area in Colorado has been making snow since late September.

Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are opening for business on Wednesday, both boasting 18-inch bases, to share the title of first ski areas to open in the nation for the 2008-09 season.

Helped by several inches of natural snow this weekend to augment the machine-made kind, A-Basin will open the Exhibition chairlift at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Loveland will set its Chair 1 in motion.

Both resorts will have just one run open.

Skiers and boarders at A-basin can cruise on the white strip that travels down the intermediate High Noon run and the High Divide Terrain Park, spokeswoman Kimberly Trembearth said.

Loveland will string the Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun trails together to make a run with a 1,000 vertical foot drop, said resort official Rob Goodell.

The beginner runs aren’t yet open at either resort.

Colorado had 12.5 million skier days last season, just off the record of 12.6 million skier days set the year before, according to Colorado Ski Country USA.

Breckenridge and Vail ranked one and two for most skier visits in the state last season, with 1.63 million and 1.57 million respectively.

Among destination resorts, Steamboat ranked first with just over a million visits.

Loveland and A-Basin each year contend to see which area can open first.

Unless Loveland surprises with an opening today, Arapahoe Basin will claim the distinction for the third year in a row.

A-Basin officials hope the new Montezuma Bowl, 400 acres of groomed runs, glades, chutes and open bowl skiing, can open for the season in early January.

Opening day adult lift tickets at A-Basin are $49; teens 15 to 19 get $5 off that price; and youngsters 6 to 14 pay just $25.

Ski and snowboard rentals will be available Wednesday, as will the tune shop, food services a bar and a retail shop.

But lessons won’t start until next month.

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