Update: Ski season starts TODAY. A-Basin to open at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Keystone to open Saturday | VailDaily.com

Update: Ski season starts TODAY. A-Basin to open at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Keystone to open Saturday

Colorado ski season begins Saturday

Deepan Dutta, Summit Daily News

FRISCO — Just as skiers and riders were getting excited for ski season to kick off Saturday at Keystone Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced at 1:45 p.m. Friday that it would start spinning its lifts at 3:30 p.m. today.

The Black Mountain Express lift will run until 5:30 p.m., providing access to the High Noon intermediate trail. Tickets will cost $15.

Keystone Resort announced Friday morning on Twitter that it will be opening Saturday, Oct. 12, the earliest opening day for the resort in more than 20 years.

On Saturday, River Run Gondola and the Montezuma Express lift will open with access to Schoolmarm, Silver Spoon and Last Chance runs. Skiing and riding will be open from the top of Dercum Mountain to the bottom of the Montezuma lift. At the end of the day, skiers and riders will download on the River Run Gondola to return to the base area.

In a press release, Keystone credited the early opening to significant investments in its snowmaking infrastructure, including an automated system that allows the resort to operate more efficiently during the early season.

“With Keystone’s early opening, and Breckenridge’s plan to operate through Memorial Day, the two resorts will offer one of the longest ski seasons in the country … ,” Keystone’s new vice president and general manager Jody Churich was quoted as saying in the release.

“Our mountain operations team put in a tremendous amount of hard work to get our new snowmaking system ready for Keystone’s early opening,” Churich said.

As part of its opening day festivities, Keystone will offer donut holes, hot chocolate and coffee at the base of the River Run Gondola. The first 100 guests in line will receive a free pancake breakfast at the Summit House atop Dercum Mountain.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.