Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announces opening day set for Friday | AspenTimes.com

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announces opening day set for Friday

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com

The Colorado ski season will officially begin when Arapahoe Basin Ski Area becomes the first resort to open Friday, Oct. 17.

The resort announced around 2 p.m. Wednesday that skiers and snowboarders will be able to make turns on about 700 vertical feet of the intermediate High Noon run starting Friday at 9 a.m.

"Conditions have been outstanding for snowmaking, and we are very excited to open this Friday," said Alan Henceroth, A-Basin's chief operating officer. "It is always great to watch people have fun skiing and riding. I look forward to catching up with old friends and getting the Basin rolling."

On Friday, A-Basin will win its annual race with neighboring Loveland Ski Area to open first.

"We're working hard to get open as quickly as we can," said John Sellers, Loveland spokesman.

Loveland won't open Friday, he said, and Saturday and Sunday are unlikely as well.

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The resort aims to open about 1,000 vertical feet of green terrain off Chair 1, from Catwalk to Mambo to Home Run, and Loveland's snowmaking system doesn't allow crews to make snow along the entire run at the same time. Workers start at the top, and the base area, at 10,800 feet, still needs some work, he said.

"We're getting there," he said. "As soon as we know we'll get the word out."

Loveland's announcement, like A-Basin's, typically comes 24 to 48 hours before opening day, so excited skiers should stay tuned.

A-Basin's mountain operations team started making snow early on Oct. 2, and were able to create the 18-inch base necessary for opening. The ski area also received about 12 inches of natural snow this fall.

The resort could be the first to open in the country, said spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac, if you don't count Timberline Lodge, the Mount Hood, Oregon, resort on a glacier that offers the only year-round skiing in North America.

A-Basin will keep making snow on the High Noon run and then work on opening the adjacent run, Ramrod. Skiers can expect the top of the resort above the midmountain restaurant to open in November.

Since snowmaking started at A-Basin in 2001, the resort's earliest opening day was Oct. 9, 2009. Last year, the ski area closed after 241 days of skiing on June 22.