Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin, CO, are getting ready to take advantage of the falling temperatures by getting their snowguns ready to start firing. Both resorts intend to open in mid-October and will begin snowmaking for real in the next couple of weeks or so.
Loveland yesterday shared a video of crews testing snowguns, and A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth told us via his blog that they too are getting ready:
The snowmakers have put the fan guns out on High Noon. In the next couple weeks they will be placing hydrants, snowmaking hose and power cords. Monday they did Summer Test Number One pumping water up to mid-mountain. It all worked well. Snowmaking systems are interesting and complicated. Snowmaking and power lines are spread for miles across the mountain. Additionally, there are pump stations and the actual fan guns. Most of the equipment exists in a very rough and rugged environment. On top of that, the system sits idle for nine months of the year. The snowmaking crew spends the summer testing and maintaining all of their gear.
They do all this in preparation for that special night two or three weeks from now when the wet bulb temperature drops below 26F and they “FIRE UP” for the snowmaking season.
Typically, it’s a tussle 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 first to open ten times, and Keystone was 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.
- Related: It’s September… Beware
Here is a list of the first resorts to open over the last 10 years or so:
- 21/22: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 16th
- 20/21: Wild Mountain, Minnesota – October 19th
- 19/20: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 11th
- 18/19: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 13th
- 17/18: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 13th
- 16/17: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 21st
- 15/16: Killington, Vermont – October 18th
- 14/15: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 17th
- 13/14: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 13th
- 12/13: Wild Mountain, Minnesota – October 18th
- 11/12: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 11th
- 10/11: Sunday River, Maine – October 23rd
- 09/10: Loveland, Colorado – October 6th
- 08/09: Loveland, Colorado – October 7th
See you on the slopes next month!