Colorado Ski Resorts Facing Latest Opening Date in Years

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Snowguns blazing at Keystone Resort, CO. Credit: Katie Young, Keystone Resort

With Colorado weather forecasters predicting warm and dry weather for the foreseeable future, there’s a possibility the state’s ski resorts could have their latest start to a season in five years. Twice in the previous ten years resorts would already be open by now.

loveland pass, colorado
The seven day outlook for Loveland Pass, CO. Warm and dry. Credit: NOAA

The seven-day outlook for Loveland Pass, CO, home to Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, is showing clear skies and highs of 51ºF.

NOAA’s October outlook, released a month ago, predicted October would be warmer than normal for Colorado.

October 2022 temperature outlook. Credit: NOAA

Four resorts have already begun snowmaking; Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Keystone Resort, and Loveland Ski Area.

Typically, it’s a brawl between Colorado’s A-Basin and Loveland to see who starts the ski season off for North America, both resorts battling for bragging rights.

From 1982 through 2001, Loveland was the first to open ten times, and Keystone was the first ten times. However, three of Keystone’s wins were photo finishes when both areas opened on the same day, and Keystone used its lights to open before sunrise, getting a jump on Loveland by two or three hours in the quest for bragging rights, according to the Denver Post. Then in 2002, Arapahoe Basin installed snowmaking equipment. From 2003 through 2018, Arapahoe Basin was the first Front Range area to open nine times, Loveland was first five times, and they tied twice. Wolf Creek, a small area 250 miles from Denver in southern Colorado, actually beat both of them four times since 2011, thanks to ample early natural snowfall.

Here is a list of the first Colorado resort to open over the last ten years or so:

  • 21/22: Wolf Creek – October 16th
  • 20/21: Wolf Creek – October 19th
  • 19/20: Arapahoe Basin – October 11th
  • 18/19: Wolf Creek – October 13th
  • 17/18: Arapahoe Basin – October 13th
  • 16/17: Arapahoe Basin – October 21st
  • 15/16: Loveland – October 29th
  • 14/15: Arapahoe Basin – October 17th
  • 13/14: Arapahoe Basin – October 13th
  • 12/13: Arapahoe Basin – October 17th
  • 11/12: Wolf Creek – October 11th
  • 10/11: Loveland – October 24th
  • 09/10: Loveland – October 6th
  • 08/09: Loveland – October 7th

Let’s hope we’re not waiting until October 29th like we did in 2015!

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