Arapahoe Basin opening for 2012-2013 ski season on Wednesday

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Arapahoe Basin CEO Alan Henceroth announced today that the ski area's Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17 to mark the start of the 2012-2013 ski and snowboard season.

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"We're extremely excited to be the first ski area to open in Colorado," Henceroth said, in a statement. "The staff and I can't wait to see skiers and riders out on the hill having fun. That's what we live for."

Local skiers and riders have taken to calling the early-season strips of artificial snow at Colorado ski areas "white ribbons of death," but this year A-Basin and other local ski areas have had their artificial snowmaking bolstered by several doses of the real thing. Henceroth has been posting photos all week showing natural snow all over the mountain as his crews have worked to fill in the gaps to create a complete run on the intermediate High Noon trail from the top of the Black Mountain Express to the base area.

"After a final tour with Tim and Scott, we are ready," Henceroth wrote on his blog earlier today, referring to his snowmaking and grooming team. "You can look forward to skiing and riding on High Noon. We will have a few terrain park features also. I am excited."

Early season lift tickets are $64 for adults, $54 for youth ages 15-18, and $32 for children, with additional discounts available online at tickets.arapahoebasin.com.

A-Basin may be first to open this year in Colorado, but national honors in the annual race to open went to Minnesota's Wild Mountain, which opened its bunny slope and beginner's terrain park on October 7.

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