"This is pure snow! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?"
-- Charles De Mar, Better Off Dead (1985)
The chase for Colorado's white gold gets more serious when there's pure powder to be had, but after taking the summer off Colorado's core addicts will still go out of their way for their first hits of whatever they can get.
This week's blizzards across the state have everyone jonesing, but the fiends at Loveland had their lifts running October 7, making them first in the U.S. and more than a month ahead of most of their Colorado competitors; they've been similarly freebasin' at A-Basin since October 9, and there's fresh, natural snow to be had at both resorts this week.
It's not too late to make first tracks of the season at other mountains, either:
Howl at the moon on Halloween at Wolf Creek, where fresh powder has pushed the official Nova opening date up to October 31.
Copper Mountain celebrates Lift Off next week, November 6-8 with weekend gear demos, live music, and screenings of RE: Session and In Deep, the latest ski porn from Teton Gravity Research and Matchstick Productions.
Breckenridge gets things started November 12, with free pancake breakfast on the Bergenhof deck.
Winter Park launches for its 70th season on November 18 to stake its claim as the longest continually running resort in Colorado. Monarch is also claiming Platinum anniversary status this year, and opens November 25.
Vail and Eldora are scheduled to get the season underway November 20, followed by Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Monarch, and Crested Butte on November 25, Telluride and Ski Cooper on November 26, and Durango (Purgatory) on November 27.
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Echo Mountain is officially up December 3 but is already reporting as much as 20" of the good stuff. Expect a possible early opening and/or a plague of poachers.
Farther up the hill, the action gets underway at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass November 26, with Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands following on December 12.
With that calendar, you ought to be able to keep yourself in Opening Day tailgate parties until the waist-deep and (dare to dream?) head-high powder is in full swing.