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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Colorado welcomes early snowfalls



Snowstorms at the weekend delivered a welcome cover of powder at several resorts across Colorado that are scheduled to open this week, with further heavy snow continuing ahead of Thanksgiving tomorrow (28 November). Aspen Mountain and Snowmass’ openings were brought forward by five days to Saturday 23 November with top to bottom skiing and riding, whilst locals in Telluride were revelling in a Bluebird Day on Saturday after 15 inches of snow was received from one storm, ahead of opening day this Thursday. Skiers and boarders everywhere are hopeful this is a sign of another great season to come for Colorado’s 28 ski areas and resorts.

Aspen Mountain opened on Saturday with 3,200 vertical feet of top to bottom skiing and riding serviced by the Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express, and Bell Mountain Chair. Runs include Bellissimo, Upper Copper, Deer Park, Dipsy Doodle, Easy Chair, One and Two Leaf, Pumphouse, Silver Bell, Blondie’s, Pussyfoot Silver Dip and Spar Gultch. This new terrain will add 88 new acres of skiing and riding, bringing the total acreage to 148 on Aspen Mountain. The Sundeck restaurant and Ajax Tavern is open with food and beverage options. Aspen Mountain lifts are running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are scheduled to open Saturday 7 December.)

Snowmass, which also opened early at the weekend, offers a total of 60 acres of terrain with skiing and riding from the Village Express midway unload point along Upper Scooper to Lower Hal’s Hollow to the bottom of Fanny Hill, as well as at Elk Camp Meadows accessed by the Elk Camp Gondola. The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster is now up-and-running and the Elk Camp Restaurant is also open with food and beverages. The Village Express lift is operating from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with the Elk Camp Gondola running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Beaver Creek opened on Saturday 23 November, ahead of its scheduled 27 November opening date, with more than 70 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain accessed by two lifts – Centennial Express Lift and Haymeadow Express Gondola – which commenced at 9:00 a.m. The Beaver Creek Ski & Snowboard School also began with Spruce Saddle and the Ice Cream Parlour now open daily for on-mountain eats.

Telluride is starting the season with 35 inches of snow in the past week, with more on the way ahead of its official opening day on Thursday 28 November. More than one foot fell on Saturday alone as locals celebrated a Bluebird day in the mountain town and a further foot of fresh powder last night. Lifts in the resort will being turning today ahead of its Thanksgiving opening.

Vail, which officially opened for the 19.20 season on 16 November, has also announced that trails off Northwoods Express and Sourdough Express are now open (as of Monday 25 November), for a total of 360 skiable acres, 29 open trails and 5 chairlifts.

Steamboat was originally scheduled to open on Saturday 23 November, with the opening day brought forward by one week to 15 November, signaling the resort’s earliest opening in 50 years. The season commenced with the Christie Peak Express featuring 50 acres, 1,100 vertical feet and 10 trails including Sitz, Sitzback, Jess’ Cut-Off, Vogue, lower Short Cut, Stampede, Boulevard, upper Giggle Gulch and Right O Way, as well as Desperado Carpet and select features in Lil’ Rodeo Terrain Park. Lessons are available with Steamboat SnowSports School and the Outlaw Mountain Coaster in action. The new Steamboat gondola was also opened on Sunday 24 November, which increases capacities and decreases ride times.

Other ski areas and resorts in Colorado opening this week include Crested Butte and Purgatory today (27 November) and Echo Mountain on 29 November.

This wave of resort openings follows many record-breaking early openings this season, with Arapahoe Basin opening on 11 October; Monarch celebrating its earliest opening since 1969 on 1 November, Winter Park having its earliest opening on record on 2 November following 40 inches of snow in October. Keystone and Breckenridge both had the snowiest October on record with 48 inches at Breckenridge (which opened 8 November) and 44 inches at Keystone (which opened 1 November).

For more information about Snow’s Perfect State, Colorado, and its 28 ski areas, visit www.colorado.com/28resorts.

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