Things have been a little tense here at Colorado Ski Country USA lately. We’re all on pins and needles waiting to get the call that one of our resorts is going to open. We’re busy planning for the big event but have no idea when it will be. It’s like planning your own surprise party without knowing when the surprise is. But if history tells us anything about opening day, we know this, that in Colorado, the race to open is exciting, fun and addicting, just like skiing here.
In one corner weve got Loveland, the incumbent. Loveland won the race for seven consecutive seasons, from 1999 to 2005, then again last year. Theyve been making snow for more than two weeks now. Photo of Loveland by Dustin Schaefer
In the other corner, weve got Arapahoe Basin. Arapahoe Basin mounted a successful challenge and took the title in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Colorado had an unprecedented opening day tie with both resorts opening on the same day.Photo of Arapahoe Basin by Leigh Heirholzer
There are other contenders. Copper Mountain has been making snow for a few days now, and Winter Park is ready to flip the switch when conditions prevail. Photo of Copper Mountain by Mike Looney
Photo of Winter Park by Tana Hoffman
There’s an advantage A-basin and Loveland have against other resorts; these two ski areas sit high on the Continental Divide where they enjoy early frosts, cooler temperatures and ideal conditions for early season snowmaking. It’s just tough to beat those two.
The current weather patterns in Colorado are seasonal. This week’s forecast predicts temperatures lower than in recent weeks at mountain resorts, including some days and nights predicted to drop below freezing with snow showers.
Photo of Crested Butte by Chris Segal
Both resorts are in prime shape for the opening day race. They’ve trained hard. They’ve paid their dues, now, may the best resort win. Either way, Colorado comes out on top.Photo of AspenSnowmass by Jeremy Swanson
Below is a list of each member resorts planned opening day. Dates are subject to change.
Arapahoe Basin – October (day TBD)
Aspen Highlands – December 11
Aspen Mountain – November 25
Buttermilk – December 11
Copper Mountain – November 5
Crested Butte – November 24
Echo Mountain – December 1
Eldora – November (day TBD)
Howelsen – December (day TBD)
Loveland – October (day TBD)
Monarch – November 24
Powderhorn – December 16
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort – November 25
Silverton – Unguided Season November; Guided Season January
Ski Cooper – November 25-28, December 3-5, December 10-12, open daily after December 17
Snowmass – November 25
SolVista – December 15
Steamboat – November 24
Sunlight – December 3
Telluride – November 25
Winter Park – November 17
Wolf Creek – November 5