It’s snowing at Vail and Beaver Creek on Friday morning, Halloween Eve, which definitely qualifies as a treat for eager early-season snow riders jonesing for the 2015-16 ski season to kick into full gear. Both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area officially kicked off the season on Thursday.
Both of those resorts and hour or so east of Eagle County reportedly opened with good conditions on their respective white ribbons, as several storms have moved through the state over the last couple of weeks, depositing natural snow up high and lowering temperatures for snowmaking. More snow is on the way late next week, according to Opensnow.com.
Keystone in Summit County is scheduled to open next, on Friday, Nov. 6, as is Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado, according to industry trade association Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA). Copper Mountain was supposed to open on Nov. 6 but postponed opening day by a week.
Copper officials cited the unseasonably warm fall, but the resort was the first to start snowmaking operations on Oct. 4 — primarily on its U.S. Ski Team Speed Center downhill course. Then last week the ski team announced it would stay in Europe to take advantage of good early-season training conditions there.
Both Keystone and Wolf Creek will now beat Copper to the punch, and Breckenridge will open the same day, on Friday, Nov. 13. Vail and Beaver Creek will open Nov. 20 and Nov. 25 respectively.
Here’s a press release from CSCUSA on the opening of the 2015-16 ski season. Vail Resorts’ ski areas — Beaver Creek, Breck, Keystone and Vail — are not members of CSCUSA, so they don’t appear on the list. However, Real Vail includes a comprehensive snow report on the lower right side of our homepage, with live data courtesy of Snocountry.com.
CSCUSA opening day press release:
DENVER – October 29, 2015 – Colorado’s 2015/16 ski season is underway today as crowds of enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders celebrated at the Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas. At 9:00 a.m. Loveland’s Chair 1 began delivering riders 1,000 vertical feet to the top of the Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run trails for their first lift-served turns of the season on a mile-long descent on 18 inches of packed powder.
Simultaneously at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, the Black Mountain Express high-speed quad chairlift began delivering eager snow riders to the top of the intermediate High Noon run to inaugurate their 2015-16 ski season.
Several resorts in Colorado have taken advantage of cold nighttime temperatures to commence snowmaking operations over the past several weeks. Copper Mountain began making snow on the morning of Sunday, October 4. Thanks to more than 21 inches of natural snowfall and ideal snowmaking conditions in the last several days, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin tied the friendly race to be the first to open for the season. The two ski areas opened on the same day for the first time since the 2008/09 ski season.
A summer of major upgrades and improvements at Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member resorts combined with strong pre-season pass sales have created a buzz around the new ski season. Loveland and Arapahoe Basin’s dual opening and the potential for a strong El Niño weather pattern has skiers and riders hopeful for a memorable season ahead.
“In the last several days, many Colorado snowmakers and slope groomers have been working alongside Mother Nature to prepare for what is sure to be an exciting ski and ride season” said CSCUSA President and CEO Melanie Mills. “We’re always thrilled to get another Colorado ski season underway and this year is no exception.”
This season, Colorado’s ski areas will build on their renowned guest experience with capital improvements, program upgrades, and new technology. “As always, Colorado resorts are focused on delivering the best guest experience in skiing and snowboarding”, continued Mills. “From high-quality professional instruction and enhanced on-mountain dining to groundbreaking technology and diverse pass products, Colorado truly has a mountain for everyone. Our resorts’ ongoing dedication to quality, safety, and value is what keeps visitors coming back to Colorado season after season.”
The race to host Opening Day is one of the highlights of the ski season, a title often held by Colorado’s Loveland or Arapahoe Basin. Both resorts are perched atop the Continental Divide, giving them earlier frosts and colder temperatures. This also allows them to stay open long into the spring, giving Colorado one of the longest ski seasons in the country.
Below is a current list of scheduled opening dates for CSCUSA member resorts*.
|Listed By Resort Name|
|Arapahoe Basin:||October 29, 2015 2015 – early June 2016|
|Aspen Highlands:||December 12, 2015 – April 10, 2016|
|Aspen Mountain:||November 26, 2015 – April 17, 2016|
|Buttermilk:||December 12, 2015 – April 03, 2016|
|Cooper:||December 12, 2015 – April 10, 2016|
|Copper Mountain:||November 13, 2015 – April 17, 2016|
|Crested Butte:||November 25, 2015 – April 3, 2016|
|Eldora:||November 20, 2015– mid April 2016|
|Howelsen:||Late November 2015 – mid March 2016|
|Loveland:||October 29, 2015 – early May 2016|
|Monarch:||Late November 2015 – mid April 2016|
|Powderhorn:||December 17, 2015 – April 3, 2016|
|Purgatory:||Late November 2015 – April 2016|
|Silverton:||December 19, 2015 – April 10, 2016|
|Ski Granby Ranch:||December 17, 2015 – early April 2016|
|Snowmass:||November 26, 2015 – April 10, 2016|
|Steamboat:||November 25, 2015 – April 10, 2016|
|Sunlight:||December 11, 2015 – April 3, 2016|
|Telluride:||November 26, 2015 – April 3, 2016|
|Winter Park:||November 18, 2015 – April 25, 2016|
|Wolf Creek:||November 6, 2015 – April 13, 2016|
|Listed By Open Date|
|October 29:||Loveland, Arapahoe Basin|
|November 6:||Wolf Creek|
|November 13:||Copper Mountain|
|November 18:||Winter Park|
|November 25:||Crested Butte, Steamboat|
|November 26:||Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Telluride|
|Late November:||Monarch, Howelsen, Purgatory|
|December 12:||Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Ski Cooper|
|December 17:||Ski Granby Ranch, Powderhorn|
*Dates are subject to change.