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Today in stoke: Loveland breaks out the big guns, preps for early opener

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Loveland loves to lay down its annual earliest opening day claim, and we have to say things are looking pretty good up there this week, with a little bit of natural snow and perfect conditions for snow-making operations. They're already behind last year's pace (Loveland opened on October 7 last year), but the race is on. After a false start last month before being foiled by warmer temperatures, Loveland's been back at it.

"Mother Nature is always the big variable in that equation," says Loveland marketing director John Sellers. "But we had a very good weekend with a couple inches of natural snow - the ridge is all covered in white - and I was surprised by how much snow we are able to make. You look at these pictures and you can't but get a little bit stoked, right?"

Earliest opening day has become an annual bragging rights bonanza, and A-Basin and other ski areas are also at it this week, giving Loveland a run for it.

"Opening day could be any day," Sellers says. "What we're looking for to open is an 18- inch base and tree-to-tree coverage on our opening day runs, Catwalk, Mambo, and Homerun. That makes for a top-to-bottom run with over 1,000 vertical feet and over a mile in length. We're not going to sacrifice riding conditions just to open up earlier. You know, there's not going to be rocks and stumps and stuff, or half a run. It's going to be a full ski run with some snow it. Our guys are looking for low temps and low humidity, and they were able to make snow most of the weekend. They're gonna keep cranking, and hopefully it stays cold this week so we can get some skiers and riders up here as soon as possible."

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