Vail still targeting Nov. 15 start as ski resorts open early across Colorado | VailDaily.com

Vail still targeting Nov. 15 start as ski resorts open early across Colorado

Seven resorts across the state will be open this weekend

A snowboarder rides Loveland on October 25. The resort was the third to open in Colorado and will be one of six open on Saturday.
Casey Day | Special to the Daily

When Keystone announced its snowmaking improvements for 2019-2020, it kicked off a race to open that will long be remembered in Colorado.

And not just for its new participation in a contest that was often fought between Arapahoe Basin and Loveland. With the upcoming openings of Wolf Creek on Thursday, Eldora and Monarch Mountain on Friday and Winter Park on Saturday, Colorado will have seven different choices for skiers to kick off the Colorado ski season’s first weekend of November.

As for Vail and Beaver Creek, while officials say earlier openings are not out of the question, as of right now the plan is still to open Vail November 15 and Beaver Creek November 27.

While Keystone and Arapahoe Basin used snowmaking to stage their memorable moment this season, the resorts have benefited from natural snowfall, as well, and in opening on Saturday, Winter Park specifically referenced natural snow as the deciding factor.

“Mother Nature brought the snow to Winter Park especially early this year, so we are taking advantage of the conditions and are excited to open the mountain more than a week earlier than expected,” said Liz Agostin, marketing director for the resort.

Loveland cited both natural and man-made snow in its especially smooth opening this season.

“We are off to a great start with 40 inches of snow in October,” John Sellers with Loveland told the Vail Daily. “The natural snow and cold temps have provided a big boost for our snowmaking team and we expect to open more terrain for the weekend.”

Arapahoe Basin is reporting 160% of average snowpack currently.

“There is enough snow on the ground to really be packing it down,” Arapahoe Basin COO Alan Henceroth wrote on his blog on Tuesday.

Monarch’s Friday opening will be the resort’s earliest in 50 years.

120 acres at Keystone

Keystone reported 22 inches of fresh snow over the course of the last week and is set to open top-to-bottom skiing out of River Run Village starting Friday. Keystone will also open Silvermaster and Lower Paymaster, and with the North Peak area now open via the Outpost Gondola, the resort has more than 120 acres open across two peaks and five lifts.

Keystone also offers a good experience for non-skiers with a two-gondola scenic ride. Guests can take the River Run gondola to the top of Dercum Mountain before connecting to the North Peak via the Outpost Gondola.

The terrain park at Spring Dipper will also open Friday at Keystone with an array of small-to-medium terrain park features. Arapahoe Basin has a terrain park open, as well.

The U.S. Ski Team is set to start arriving at Copper Mountain this week and training next week at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center on the south east side of the mountain, and Copper will open to the general public on Nov. 8 at 9 a.m., giving away flannel shirts to the first 50 lift riders.

Breckenridge also opens Nov. 8. Both Breckenridge and Keystone surpassed their October snowfall records from the 2006-07 season, which were previously 46 inches for Breck and 43 inches for Keystone.