With Denver's first snowstorm coming, we've hauled our skis out of storage and started trolling the mountain snow reports on a daily basis—with good reason. More than 12 million people skied our slopes last year, according to the National Ski Areas Association. That's only happened three times before. Industry officials and board bums alike are hoping that momentum continues this year.
Usually Loveland and Arapahoe Basin (pictured) battle it out to be the first Colorado resort open, but this year, Pagosa Springs's Wolf Creek beat them both to the punch. It was the first ski area in Colorado to welcome visitors for the season—on October 8, with three feet of natural snow. The following weekend, both Loveland and A-Basin opened for the season, and Echo Mountain joined the fun with a one-day-only "Bring on the Snow" party, making a total of four resorts operating that weekend. "That's very unusual," says Jennifer Rudolph, communications director for Colorado Ski Country. "In fact, I'm not sure it's ever happened."
Wolf Creek is currently open on weekends only; Loveland and A-Basin are open daily (they utilize machine-made groomed runs). Since conditions are still considered early season, watch out for twigs, rocks, branches and other debris that could be easily uncovered in melting snow. Resorts will be opening throughout November, but the major action comes the week of Thanksgiving. After that, almost everyone's got something open. See you on the slopes.
Arapahoe Basin Snowfall Average: 350 inches; Skiable Acres: 900; Number of Trails: 105
Echo Mountain Snowfall Average: 215 inches; Skiable Acres: 85; Number of Trails: 15
Loveland Ski Area: Snowfall Average: 400 inches; Skiable Acres: 1,670; Number of Trails: 92
Wolf Creek Snowfall Average: 465 inches; Skiable Acres: 1,600; Number of Trails: 77
—Image courtesy of Soren McCarty