How the season’s first snow changes the opening dates for Colorado ski areas

Northern Colorado mountains picked up four inches of snow or more from the storm that rolled across the Front Range Thursday morning, and accompanying cold temperatures are boosting snowmaking operations at ski resorts vying to open first.

“We hope to open very soon,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer.

Four miles away, at Keystone, spokeswoman Loryn Roberson described the mountain as “a winter wonderland,” adding that resort officials “are definitely looking at an October opening.” Keystone hasn’t opened in October since 2001, but its snowmaking system was revamped this year in a bid to take on Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in the race to open first.

RELATED: When all Colorado ski resorts are scheduled to open for the season

Those resorts are grateful for the first substantial natural snowfall of the season, but officials at all three say the cold temperatures are making them even happier because they are predicted to linger after the storm system moves out today.

“As great as it is to see (natural) snow on the ground and in the forecast, it’s the consistent cold temperatures this storm will bring that are even more encouraging,” said Loveland Marketing Director John Sellers. “We’re hopeful about being able to continue making snow for the next 48 hours plus, and that should allow our snowmakers to make snow around the clock for a few days. Every minute of snowmaking gets us that much closer to opening day.”

This storm favored the northern mountains. Mike Cooperstein, a forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, said 6-8 inches fell along the Wyoming border, with some spots receiving up to 11 inches. Winter Park reported 6 inches.

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“It’s moving east pretty quickly, so the snow should taper off pretty rapidly, but it

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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