Skiers find white ribbon of joy at Arapahoe Basin |

Skiers find white ribbon of joy at Arapahoe Basin

Edward Stonerestoner@vaildaily.comArapahoe Basin, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailySkiers cheer as they get first chair for opening day Wednesday at Arapahoe Basin.

ARAPAHOE BASIN, Colorado At 8 a.m., throngs of skiers waited behind the rope of the Exhibition lift as if it were a powder day at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado.But there was no powder. There wasnt even snow on most of the mountain.There were 800 vertical feet of manmade snow that snaked down the mountain. And they couldnt wait to get at it.00Just to say you were the first and got that first turn is what its all about, said John Pohlmann, of Keystone, who had arrived at 6:30 a.m.Weve been waiting all summer, said his friend, Jacob Krank, of Keystone.Arapahoe Basin opened for the season Wednesday, sharing first-in-the-nation honors with nearby Loveland Ski Area, which fired up the lifts the same day.While Pohlmann and Krank were gunning for the revered first chair, so was Luca Baccega, who was also waiting for the rope to drop.Its about to go down, said Baccega, who admitted hed skipped school in Denver to go to opening day.Further down the rope, Jeff Carlson, of Breckenridge, stood with three friends.Any day on skis is a good day, Carlson said. I called everybody in my phone and these were the only guys to get up. Two out of 40 or something.Carlsons friend, Tony Marzelli, was on 111-millimeter-wide fat Volkl Katanas for this epic opening day.Im looking to get some (face) shots, he said. Some hucking.Pete Drummond was looking forward to a long season at the Legend, which, for him, was the obvious choice in the opening day sweepstakes between Loveland and A-Basin.Any day between now and June, well ski here, Drummond said.The ropes dropped at 8:30, shortly after a moment of silence for Arapahoe Basin co-founder Edna Dercum, who died last month.A-Basin had been making snow for the last week-and-a-half on the High Noon trail. About 1,600 skiers and snowboarders had showed up by mid-morning Wednesday, outpacing last years opening day crowd of 1,400, said Leigh Hierholzer, spokeswoman for the resort.Both A-Basin and Loveland vowed to open exactly at 8:30 to ensure a tie in the annual race to be the first resort to open. A-Basin had won the race for the last two years after Loveland had opened first the previous six years.People keep asking, Why didnt you open at 8:29? Hierholzer said. But we had a gentlemans agreement between the two areas that we would both open at 8:30 to make it fair.The crowds swelled as noon approached, with the singles lines stretching back up the hill. Skiers who had sampled the slope were content.Considering its the middle of October, Im not going to complain, said Tim Felton, of Vail.

Breckenridge: Nov. 7.Keystone: Nov. 7.Copper: Nov. 14.Vail: Nov. 21.Beaver Creek: Nov. 26.Ski Cooper: Nov. 27.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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