The parties keep raging with the snow across Colorado ski country.
“We did our snow dances, and Mother Nature delivered,” Monarch Mountain General Manager Randy Stroud said in a new release Monday morning, announcing the mountain’s Friday opening.
That’s five days sooner than expected and the earliest the ski area has opened since 1996.
Vail Mountain will open Wednesday ahead of its previously scheduled Friday debut, and Beaver Creek on Saturday will board lifts four days early.
Vail’s news release credited “some of the best early-November snowmaking conditions” and 4-plus feet of snowfall in the last week. Doug Lovell, Vail’s CEO, said this was the first time in more than a decade the two resorts would open early.
Starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, skiers and riders will have access to more than 500 acres at Vail, and first guests will have dibs on free burritos and hot cocoa. Beaver Creek this weekend will host top-to-bottom skiing, with intermediate terrain on Gold Dust reached via the Centennial Express.
Monarch will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Details had yet to be confirmed, but the plan was to open several lifts and trails. The ski area, a favorite among southern Coloradans, has extended its early price offering on a season pass ($479) through Friday.
The announcements come a week after several other resorts enjoyed early openings, including Breckenridge and Keystone. Eldora Mountain, the local slopes of choice in Boulder County, celebrated its earliest opening in 20 years last Wednesday. Another local spot, Ski Cooper near Leadville, plans on kicking off the year Nov. 23 — the Friday after Thanksgiving is the earliest date operators target.
Following a drier-than-usual season, enthusiasts are reveling in quality early-season conditions. Loveland over the weekend reported an 81-inch snow total two months since opening — what the ski area called its best start ever.
Also over the weekend, Arapahoe Basin opened parts of the upper mountain as skiers and riders boarded the Lenawee Lift. The area’s CEO, Alan Henceroth, posted powder-packed pictures in his blog, writing “Not bad for November 10.”
Winter Park will ring in winter Wednesday, and all Summit County resorts will be open after Copper Mountain’s celebration Friday.
After days of flurries, sunny skies are expected to return across the mountains this week. OpenSnow, a go-to source for skiers, forecasts a chance of light precipitation Saturday east of the Continental Divide.
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