Every year, Coloradans and winter sports enthusiasts wait in not-so-patient anticipation to see which mountain will be the first to start turning its chairlifts for the season.
Around here, the real competition is between Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. Boasting high base elevations of 10,780 feet (A Basin) and 9,173 feet (Keystone), these two resorts set themselves up for success.
Recent years have shown that although early season snow is essential, it sometimes needs to be supplemented in order to provide solid early-season conditions. According to Liz Copan’s article in the Summit Daily, Keystone Resort “just replaced 50 of their snow guns, which were previously manual or semi-automatic, with new high-efficiency and fully automatic snow guns.” The magic number for these guns to start making snow is 27 degrees. That is no issue in Colorado, as we saw a small snowstorm and overnight lows around 5 degrees October 9th.
As you might imagine, A-Basin and Keystone turned their snow making guns on early this year, taking advantage of a little stormy weather and a big drop in temperature. Ultimately, the winner of this year’s race to open was Arapahoe Basin. First chair was caught at 3:30 pm on Friday, October 11 by a legendary local snowboarder known as Nate Dogggg. The Denver Post reported this is his 24th consecutive season catching first chair. Keystone made an admirable effort and narrowly missed the win, opening Saturday, October 12 at 9 am.
With the season off to a very early and fantastic start, the Vail Valley is abuzz with skiers and snowboarders counting down the days until Vail and Beaver Creek open. Both resorts have invested significant funds towards increasing their snow making capacity in recent years and are poised for an incredible season. In line with tradition, Beaver Creek is set to open the day before Thanksgiving and Vail plans to open two weeks prior.
Beaver Creek Mountain is just a 5-minute drive or a free hotel shuttle ride from The Inn at Riverwalk. We don’t provide shuttle service to Vail, about 15 minutes away, but encourage visitors to try both mountains.
Beaver Creek: November 27
Vail: November 15
Copper Mountain: November 8
Breckenridge: November 8
(Listed in order of distance from The Inn)
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