The annual race to be the first mountain to open Colorado's ski season will go to Arapahoe Basin again, thanks to six inches of natural snow last night and a couple of weeks' worth of ideal snowmaking conditions.
"This is a very exciting time for us, and all of Colorado," said Arapahoe Basin Vice President and COO Alan Henceforth in a statement today. "We've had tremendous early- season snowmaking and natural snow, and we can't wait to kick off the 2013-'14 ski and ride season."
Henceroth has been blogging about weather patterns and snowmaking efforts on Al's Blog, where recent photos of golden aspen leaves have turned to shots of snow-dusted slopes over the last two weeks.
If you're after first-chair honors for the season, the Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to A-Basin spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac. The rental and retail shops will be open if you need some gear, as will the mid-mountain Black Mountain Lodge and the base-area Legends Cafe. Renovations to the 6th Alley Bar & Grill are still under way, but a temporary bar will be set up in the A-Frame lodge.
Full-day early season tickets (through December 20) are $67 for adults, $55 for youth (15-18) and $32 for kids (6-14).
Loveland Ski Area, A-Basin's traditional competitor for first turns of the season, began its snowmaking operations on September 28 but has not yet announced its opening day.
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"We're opening as quickly as we can, probably some time next week," says Loveland spokesman John Sellers. "It's looking like a great start to the season here in Colorado."