Loveland Ski Area opens Friday, the latest in a string of early-season openings

The 2011/2012 ski season is officially upon us: Arapahoe Basin opened this morning and Loveland is opening tomorrow. Each will be open daily until well into the Spring skiing season.

"The race to open is always a friendly competition between us and our neighbors at A-Basin," says Loveland Ski Area spokesman John Sellers. "We prefer it to be us to open first, but really we're just excited ski season is ready to start. We went over there this morning to say congratulations and take some Opening Day runs."

The openings are a bit earlier than last year's, thanks to a recent temperature drop that made for prime snowmaking condtions this week, Sellers says. "We're opening with an 18-inch base, tree-to-tree coverage, and top-to-bottom skiing on our Catwalk, Mambo, and Homerun trails. We'll even have a few terrain park features out for some early-season jibbing."

Look for some welcome changes at Loveland as the 2011/2012 season gets under way: The ski area spent $2.5 million over the summer replacing the old Chair 4 with a new fixed-grip four-person Poma chair and renovating its mid-mountain E-Tow and Ptarmigan Roost cabins. There will also be several new terrain park features this season, including a big Never Summer-branded roller.

Loveland's early season adult lift tickets are $47 and $22 for children (ages 6-14). Arapahoe Basin's early season adult lift tickets are $59, youth tickets (ages 15-18) are $49 and tickets for children (ages 6-14) are $30.

Wolf Creek Ski Area will also be open this weekend: The ski area in Southwestern Colorado opened for Columbus Day weekend after a 36-inch dump and has now had a total of 46 inches so far this season. Wolf Creek's early-season lift tickets are $33/adult, $19/children & seniors.

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