The snow has been flying — in Colorado Springs and in the high country — making conditions prime for snowmaking and all the more realistic for ski resorts to start opening. Turns out, the 2019-20 Colorado ski season is here. And this year’s race to Opening Day has already been an epic one.
When Keystone announced on Oct. 11 that it would open Oct. 12, it looked like the Vail resort would claim annual bragging rights for the first time since 1997 after spending millions of dollars in state-of-the-art snowmaking technology and equipment. Then came Arapahoe Basin’s announcement that it would open the day before Keystone, Oct. 12, with $15 lift tickets for the afternoon. “We did this because the snow is really good, our people are anxious and we are ready to go. We thought it would be fun,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin COO in a press release. (Check out his blog for more insight.)
In recent years, the race has been a battle between perennial contenders Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, with Wolf Creek snagging an occasional victory, as they did last year. You can expect those other resorts to be opening very soon as well.
As we slide into a new month, four resorts are opening ahead of schedule: Monarch, Eldora, Winter Park and Wolf Creek with opening dates as soon as Halloween.
“We have always had a fun snowmaking competition with our friends at Arapahoe Basin. Our snowmaking crew’s main goal is to open with full top-to-bottom run (1,000 vertical feet) covered from tree to tree with an 18-inch base,” says Dustin Schaefer, Loveland’s new media manager. “We wish Arapahoe Basin the best of luck with their snowmaking operations. No matter who opens first, we’ll be high-fiving each other on Opening Day.”
Here’s a list of tentative opening dates for all of Colorado’s ski areas with info on A-Basin’s opening below.
Arapahoe Basin: Oct. 11
Keystone: Oct. 12
Loveland Ski Area: Oct. 25
Wolf Creek: Oct. 31 – Dress in costume opening day and visit the haunted house via the Lynx Lift. Open Friday through Sunday only until Mother Nature brings more snow.
Eldora: Nov. 1
Monarch Mountain: Nov. 1 – Open Friday through Sunday only until Mother Nature brings more snow.
Winter Park: Nov. 2
Breckenridge: Nov. 8
Copper Mountain: Nov. 8
Vail: Nov. 15
Purgatory: Nov. 23
Steamboat: Nov. 23
Howelsen Hill (Steamboat Springs): Nov. 24
Beaver Creek: Nov. 27
Crested Butte: Nov. 27
Aspen Mountain: Nov. 28
Snowmass: Nov. 28
Telluride Ski Resort: Nov. 28
Echo Mountain: Nov. 29
Aspen Highlands: Dec. 7
Buttermilk: Dec. 7
Ski Cooper: Dec. 7
Granby Ranch: Dec. 13
Powderhorn Mountain Resort: Dec. 13
Sunlight Mountain Resort: Dec. 13
Kendall Mountain: Dec. 14
Hesperus Ski Area: Dec. 21
Silverton Mountain: Dec. 26
All dates are subject to change.
Check out the list of ski season passes options here, including individual mountains and Epic passes.
A-Basin Opening Day Press Release
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Summit County, Colorado, kicks off the 2019-20 ski season in North America today, Friday October 11. It will begin operations at 3:30 p.m. for opening day and keep the Black Mountain Express Lift turning until 5:30 p.m., servicing the High Noon intermediate run. Special lift ticket pricing on Oct. 11 is $15 at the ticket window. The party continues in the 6th Alley Bar & Grill until 6:00 p.m. Today only, all draft beers and appetizers in the 6th Alley are $5, each.
The lift will open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 12 to continue the festivities. A-Basin hosts the longest ski and ride season in Colorado, open from mid-October to early June, often later. This past season, the ski area opened October 19, 2018 and continued winter operations through July 4, 2019. A-Basin was only closed for 99 days, the shortest amount of time in its history.
“We did this because the snow is really good, our people are anxious and we are ready to go. We thought it would be fun,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin COO. Check out his blog for more insight: https://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/
The Banana Terrain Park will open October 12 with four features. A-Basin started snowmaking on October 2, 2019, and will continue to make snow as conditions permit with the goal of opening more terrain as soon as possible.
HOURS AND PRICING BEGINNING SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
Beginning Saturday, the 6th Alley Bar & Grill will open at 8:00 a.m. and serve lunch and après snacks starting at 10:30 a.m. The Black Mountain Lodge will serve lunch starting at 10:30 a.m. The Legends Café will open at 7:15 a.m. and serve breakfast until 10:30 a.m., and lunch after that.
Ski and snowboard rentals will be available at A-Basin beginning at 8:00 a.m. The Arapahoe Sports Retail Shop will be open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Snowsports lessons and uphill access are not yet available.
Lift tickets at the window will be $95 for adults, $80 for youth (ages 15-18) and $51 for children (6-14) with discounts available for military and seniors (70+). Kids 5 and under ski free but must pick up their free season pass in the Guest Services office.
Anyone wanting to join the A-Basin Mug Club can purchase their mug Saturday morning in Marnie’s for $45, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Additional opening weekend details can be found on ArapahoeBasin.com.