About a foot of new snow fell on Beaver Creek Sunday into Monday, with the resort set to open for the uncertain pandemic ski season less than a month from now on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Vail, which received around eight inches of new snow, opens on Friday, Nov. 20.
Other nearby Epic Pass ski areas scheduled to open even sooner – Keystone on Friday, Nov. 6, and Breckenridge on Friday, Nov. 13 – also fared well over the weekend as a cold snowstorm moved in from the north and covered the two largest wildfires in Colorado history. Crested Butte, the fifth Colorado ski area on the Epic Pass, also opens on Nov. 25.
Uphill access is currently closed at Vail Resorts’ Colorado ski areas. Snow riders can lock in an Epic Pass for exclusive early season access to all Vail Resorts through Dec. 7. Mountain access reservations are required this season due to COVID-19 restrictions and become available on Nov. 4 for Keystone and Nov. 6 for the other resorts.
The nearby Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas, which are not on the Epic Pass and have been making snow since September, will likely win the race to open first in the state.
“Our snowmakers turned on the guns Saturday night and continue to make snow into Monday morning,” Loveland reported Monday. “Mother Nature also dropped 8″ of snow on Sunday. The temps will be below 32 degrees all week. The snowmaking team should have a great week of blowing snow. Here’s a time-lapse of the snow that came in.”
On Sunday, A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth was writing more about COVID-19 than new snow and opening day. He blogged the following about the spike in cases in neighboring Summit County, even as cases also climb west of Vail Pass in Eagle County and, in fact, across Colorado:
“Like much of the rest of the country, COVID rates are going up in Summit County. Over the last two weeks, Summit’s cumulative rate of cases was the 6th highest in Colorado. If this rate doesn’t go down over the next two weeks, more severe restrictions will be put in place, hampering our ability to ski, work and enjoy life.
“Conventional wisdom tells us that these cases are being brought in by outside tourists. Turns out that is almost completely false. Contact tracing has told us Summit County residents are spreading COVID to other Summit County residents. Nearly all of this is happening through socialization – an evening party, drinks after work, hanging too close with too many people. Many of the transmissions have occurred in the late evening, after partying, when peoples’ guards are down. If we want to enjoy winter in Summit County, we are going to have to turn things around quickly. Keep your face coverings on. Maintain your physical distances. Keep your groups small. The time to act is now.”
As the latest storm clears out on Monday, Colorado is heading into a warmer, drier period for the foreseeable future, according to Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz.
“As of Monday morning, the magic number seems to be about 10″,” Gratz wrote Monday morning. “Many mountains received that much snow, with some spots a few inches lower and the highest amount around 18″. For Monday, significant snow is over for most mountains though southern mountains could receive another 2-10″+. The rest of the week will bring a gradual warming trend, and there are no significant storms on the horizon.”