Ski industry makes the best of a dry fall |

Ski industry makes the best of a dry fall

A skier hits the slopes of Wolf Creek ski area. Opening this season was a challenge even for the southwest Colorado resort, which usually reaps some of the highest snow totals in Colorado.
Colorado Ski Country USA |

The Colorado ski industry is putting on a brave face and generating the best possible spin despite tough times getting terrain open to start the season.

Nine resorts were able to open at least some terrain prior to Thanksgiving. Five more planned openings today or Friday.

Aspen Skiing Co. will open limited terrain today the Elk Camp Meadows beginners’ area and east Fanny Hill at Snowmass. Aspen Mountain was also scheduled to open for skiing Thursday, but that was delayed to a date to be determined.

Free rides are being offered to sightseers Thanksgiving Day on the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain and the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass. They are operating 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk remain scheduled to open on Dec. 10.

Resorts elsewhere have delayed openings or have limited terrain open.

Telluride pushed back its opening nine days to Dec. 2.

Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek delayed their openings until Friday.

Arapahoe Basin was the first Colorado resort to open this year, but it’s been thin pickings. The resort reported on its website Wednesday that two lower-mountain blue runs were open along with a learning area and one terrain park.

Keystone planned to offer top-to-bottom skiing starting on Friday.

Breckenridge reported Wednesday that it had 59 of its 2,908 acres of skiable terrain available on three trails.

Copper Mountain reported 67 acres open on five trails as of Wednesday.

Colorado Ski Country USA, a state trade association, issued a press release Tuesday to try to entice Front Range skiers and riders to head for the hills. “Over a foot of snow blankets Colorado ski country,” the trade association trumpeted.

Indeed, there were some signs the weather is turning. Purgatory received 17 inches of snow from Monday’s storm.

Forecasters in Colorado have vowed the white stuff is coming. meteorologist Cory Gates wrote Wednesday that we can kiss the mild weather goodbye after Saturday.

“Snow is also coming, and the days of melting and a bare ground will come to an end,” Gates wrote.

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