The calendar said "September 30," but the first big snowstorm of the season was hammering Wolf Creek Pass. So Pagosa Springs snowboarder Zach Maun dusted off his board and headed up.
The reward: One of the first powder runs in Colorado ski country this winter, captured in this video.
"It's still pretty rocky, gotta stay light on your feet right now," said Maun, a snowboard instructor at Wolf Creek Ski Area. "A few more storms though and she'll be perfect!"
Two days later, an even stronger storm hammered Colorado's high country, bringing massive snow totals to the northern half of the state. And suddenly, before the aspens were done changing colors, ski season was here.
No lifts were turning yet, but that seems only a matter of time.
So much snow fell on the night of Oct. 1 that A-Basin's 18-inch snow stake was buried. Neighboring Loveland Ski Area saw a similar amount. The two Front Range resorts usually compete to be the first to open in October, with one or two runs on man-made snow, but the storm could be a game-changer. A-Basin's earliest ever opening date was Oct. 9, in 2009, a record in danger of falling.
"I don't have an exact opening date, but safe to say that if this kind of cooperation from Mother Nature keeps up, it'll be coming up here soon," said Adrienne Saia Isaac, spokeswoman for Arapahoe Basin.
At Loveland, where the official total was 14 inches, spokesman John Sellers said it was too soon to make an opening date announcement. "As a ski area trying to get open, a big fall storm always helps. We still have a lot of work to do, but this natural snow will be a great compliment to the man-made flakes our snowmaking team is laying on the slopes," he said.
Other overnight totals included 19 inches at Steamboat and 12 inches at Copper Mountain and Snowmass.