Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to open Friday, Loveland Ski Area follows on Saturday
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will open for the 2018-19 ski and snowboard season on Friday, the first ski area in the country to open seven days a week for this winter season.
The Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 9 a.m., giving skiers and snowboarders access to the intermediate “High Noon” trail from A-Basin’s front side, mid-mountain to its front side base area seven days a week. A-Basin mountain operations will continue to make snow as weather permits in the coming days and weeks, with the goal of opening additional terrain.
“With nearly two feet of natural snow combined with the low temperatures for snowmaking, we’ve been able to create a quality base for Friday’s opening,” Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We’re excited to get the ski season started.”
Arapahoe Basin is often one of the first ski areas to open in North America, including last year when A-Basin’s Oct. 13 open was the first in the nation. This year, A-Basin lost that title to Wolf Creek Ski Area, which opened on Saturday in southern Colorado, though Wolf Creek’s opening is currently for weekends only.
Via a post on his blog on Monday morning, A-Basin’s COO Henceroth wrote the ski area had “a lot of snow everywhere,” and also explained how and why warmer temperatures this week may actually help the Basin’s snowmaking efforts in the short term.
“Mother Nature has been kind that way,” Henceroth continued. “Some of you have noticed that not all of the snowguns are running. We do have ideal temperatures. Unfortunately, with the cold temps, the streamflow has slowed down. This morning, as I am waiting for the sun to break the East Wall ridgeline, we have blue, blue skies. Sun and warmer temps will melt some of that South facing snow and bring the streamflow up.”
“Even with our reservoir, the snowmaking capacity is really tied to that streamflow. Right now we have a hand full of snowguns making fabulous snow. I look forward to having two handfulls of snowguns making fabulous snow.”
A-Basin’s current lift ticket window pricing, which runs through Dec. 21, runs $85 for a full-day ticket for adults between the ages of 19-69. Youth (15-18) full-day window tickets are priced at $70 and child (ages 6-14) window tickets are priced at $41. Children aged 5-and-under ski free every day of the season at A-Basin.
Loveland opens Saturday
With their opening this Saturday at 8:30 a.m., Loveland Ski Area — just to the east of the Continental Divide from Summit County — will debut its newest lift, “Chet’s Dream.”
“Thanks to lots of hard work from our skilled snowmaking team and 2 feet of snow from Mother Nature, we are excited to announce that Loveland Ski Area will open with exceptional early season conditions this Saturday,” Rob Goodell, Loveland’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We hope this early season snow is the start of a generous winter and invite everyone to join us on Saturday as we kick off another long and powder packed season at Loveland.”
Chet’s Dream will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and will offer skiers and riders access to one top-to-bottom run covered from tree-to-tree with an 18-inch base, the ski area said in its statement. The trails “Catwalk,” “Mambo” and “Home Run” comprise this Opening Day run, which is over a mile in length and contains nearly 1,000 vertical feet.
“This year Opening Day is even more special as Chet’s Dream, our new high-speed lift, will carry the first skiers and riders of its tenure here at Loveland,” Goodell continued in his statement. “This new lift will provide our guests with quicker and more reliable access to some of our most popular terrain while honoring ski industry pioneer and Loveland patriarch, Chester R. (Chet) Upham, Jr.”
Loveland Ski Area also opened on Oct. 20 last season. Loveland’s snowmakers will continue to make snow on Home Run and around the base of Chet’s Dream this week before moving on to opening additional terrain.
Lift operation hours at Loveland are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays. Early season lift tickets at Loveland are $65 for adults and $31 for children 6-14.
— Summit Daily Sports & Outdoors Editor Antonio Olivero contributed to this report.
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