Arapahoe Basin Ski Area readies snow guns. Loveland Ski Area, Keystone Resort not far behind
FRISCO — The race is on among the high-elevation ski areas in Summit County to open for the 2019-20 ski season.
Keystone Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Continental Divide neighbor Loveland Ski Area all teased the start of snowmaking on social media Wednesday and Thursday.
“It may still be hot and summery in the Denver metro area, but Arapahoe Basin is already thinking about snowmaking, which is less than a month away,” Katherine Fuller, communications manager for Arapahoe Basin, said in an email.
Fuller confirmed that snow guns are already positioned on the frontside runs at A-Basin and will be tested in the next few days, weather permitting. Ideal snowmaking conditions are at 28 degrees or lower but can occur at 32 degrees. According to On The Snow, the ski area might reach these temperatures overnight in the next few days.
Last year, A-Basin opened Oct. 19. The earliest the ski area opened was Oct. 9 in 2009. This year, the resort is aiming for mid-October.
Meanwhile, Loveland Ski Area, which historically has competed with A-Basin for early opening, also is preparing for snowmaking. The ski area announced on its social media channels Thursday that snowmaking will commence on Sept. 29. Loveland also has forecasts for temperatures in the low 30s this week.
Keystone Resort is also planning to open earlier than in past years, as the Vail Resorts property has invested recently in a new fleet of snowmaking equipment.
With Vail Resorts going into its first season in more than 20 years without an A-Basin partnership on its Epic Pass, Vail-owned Keystone on Wednesday hinted at an October opening on its social media channels. While Keystone has slightly higher temperatures, forecasts still show temps in the low 30s over the next week.
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Warm and dry conditions to start the winter have kept all but the higher elevation slopes free of snow. That is expected to change by the end of the week and the avalanche hazard could start to climb, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center.