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Ski Season Started Early This Year—These Are the Slopes Opening Ahead of Schedule

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Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area became the first U.S. ski resort to open this year, beating Keystone Resort by one day.
Photo by Arina P. Habich/Shutterstock

Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area became the first U.S. ski resort to open this year, beating Keystone Resort by one day.

Can’t wait to hit the slopes this winter? Now you don’t have to, thanks to a few resorts that have opened early this year.

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To all the powderhounds who spent the summer praying for snow—your prayers have been answered. Ski season kicked off early in the United States this year when two Colorado ski resorts opened during the second weekend in October, weeks before the mid-November start typical of most ski areas. Thanks to advances in making snow and ideal early season temperatures, two more are poised to open this weekend, and others are projecting earlier-than-usual start dates as well.

This year’s early start was enlivened by an upset in the time-honored race to be the first resort open. On Friday, October 11, Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado announced in a press release that its season would start the following day, its earliest opening in 20 years. The resort, which usually opens the first or second weekend in November, positioned itself as the first ski resort in North America to open this year. Then, on the same day as Keystone’s announcement, Arapahoe Basin, also in Colorado, flung its doors wide from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., thus besting Keystone by a day. Last year, the honor went to Wolf Creek, Colorado, which opened on October 13, 2018. 

The Best Ski Resorts in the United States

Two more ski areas are set to open this weekend. Loveland Ski Area in Clear Creek Country, Colorado, announced on October 22 that it would open on Friday, October 25. The resort has a reputation for some of the best early season conditions in Colorado and has been hard at work making snow for the past few weeks.

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Mt. Rose Ski Area in Tahoe opened on its projected date, October 25, 2019. The resort boasts the highest base elevation (8,260 feet) in Tahoe and is usually among the first ski spots in the country to open each year; it will be the first ski area to open in California this year. 

As of October 25, there are six lifts and four trails open at Keystone, and one lift, two trails, and one terrain park are open at Arapahoe Basin. Loveland opened with one lift and three trails, and one lift, one terrain park, and four trails are open at Mt. Rose. 

Upcoming openings

Wolf Creek was the first to open last year, and this year the resort plans to open on October 31, 2019, a day earlier than planned. The bump allows the resort to claim an October opening date.

Eldora, in Boulder County Colorado, announced yesterday that it would open two weeks earlier than expected. The November 1 date will be the resort’s earliest opening in 22 years. 

The weekend of November 8–10, 2019, will be a big one for skiiers and snowboarders, with a number of popular resorts kicking off their seasons.

Copper Mountain in Colorado plans to start its 2019/2020 winter season on November 8.

Breckenridge, also in Colorado, has tentatively set its opening day for November 8.

With Arapahoe Basin’s recent upset in the race to open, it’s possible that Colorado resorts may try to nudge their first days up a bit.

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Mammoth Mountain, in California, is well known for its long ski seasons (the resort operated until July 28 this year) and plans to start this season on November 9.

Ski Brule, in northern Michigan, has announced that it will start making snow as soon as temperatures get cold enough and expects to open on November 8.

Of course, conditions and opening status can change quickly in the early season depending on temperature and weather; always check resort websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date information.

This article originally appeared online on October 17, 2019; it was updated on October 25, 2019, to include current information.

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