Arapahoe Basin opening 2013-'14 ski season Sunday

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."

See also: Adam Sikorski's Coloradical shop opening on East Colfax Saturday

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.

"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."