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Snow in forecast as Vail, other Colorado ski areas gear up for opening days

October 19, 2022, 11:00 am
Snowmaking this week at Arapahoe Basin.

Colorado ski season is right around the corner — with Vail slated to crank up the lifts on Friday, Nov. 11 — and so is a potentially significant snowstorm this weekend, according to forecasters.

It’s a forecast that has operators of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland — typically two of the earliest opening ski areas in the nation — ramping up the snowmaking and eyeing opening days soon.

First the forecast:

“Wednesday through Friday will be dry, warm, and sunny, then Saturday will stay dry but become windy in advance of the storm,” Opensnow.com reported in an email blast on Wednesday. “On Sunday, expect snow for most mountains with colder temperatures allowing snow to fall down to the valleys and snow-covered roads by the end of the day. Total snowfall on Sunday and Monday could be measured in double digits for many mountains.”

On Tuesday, Alan Henceroth, chief operating officer at Arapahoe Basin, wrote this on Al’s Blog:

“I just hiked/boot skied down High Noon,” Henceroth wrote. “The snow is very good. Last night was cold with a wet bulb low of 19 F. We have made serious progress and are further along than I had expected. With snowmaking, the first couple nights are for practice and to test the system. The next few nights we start to make some real progress. And, after the last few nights, we have something to get excited about. No opening date has been set, but opening is clearly in sight. The forecast the next couple nights is marginal, but starting this weekend, the temperature drops down into the teens. It won’t be long. Also, I just read that two Minnesota ski areas opened for skiing. Congratulations to Wild Mountain and Andes Tower Hills for kicking off the season!!!  If you make snow and open a lift, they will come.”

Loveland on Tuesday was reporting good snowmaking conditions at night: “Temps have been staying low at night and our snowmaking team has been able to make snow every night since Friday. The forecast is looking very promising the next week and we hope to be able to make more snow. The snowguns are all setup on Catwalk and on Mambo. Once snowmaking is completed on those two runs, they will be moved down to Home Run and the bottom of Chet’s Dream and the base area of the mountain. Last year Loveland opened on October 30. Loveland hopes to open late October to early November.”

At Vail, where snow guns have also been turned on intermittently, the ski company anticipated stepped up snowmaking if the weekend storm significantly drops temperatures heading into next week.

“We don’t want to jinx it, but next week’s temps are looking really great for around-the-clock snowmaking here in Vail! Thank a snowmaker, because they’ll be on the mountain 24/7 in just a few days,” Vail posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday.

It’s also reporting a substantial level of stoke around its planned ice bars to celebrate its 60th anniversary season:

“The excitement we’ve received around the return of Vail’s Ice Bar has been amazing! We were going to wait… but we’re excited that you’re excited! We’ll be bringing two Ice Bars to life next season,” Vail announced on its Facebook page on Tuesday. “If you aren’t on skis or a snowboard, one Ice Bar will be located at Eagle’s Nest not too far from Eagle Bahn Gondola. Our second Ice Bar will be at Wildwood, right near our TWO new chairlifts! We’ll be looking to create the Ice Bars once we have enough snow, and we can’t wait to see you there!”

Beaver Creek opens for the season on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Ice bar action in the early days of Vail Mountain (Vail Facebook page photo).

2 Responses to Snow in forecast as Vail, other Colorado ski areas gear up for opening days

  1. Sam Davis Reply

    October 19, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    It’s ridiculous that with this drought these money hungry ski areas are rushing the season and wasting billions of gallons of water with snow making that will not return to the watershed. They are an ecological nightmare.

    • David O. Williams Reply

      October 19, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      Studies show 80% of snowmaking returns to the watershed when it melts in the spring, although I don’t disagree that we should wait more on Mother Nature and take what she gives us in the fall and then stretch the season out longer in the spring if possible.

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