DENVER – Keystone and Copper Mountain hosted their opening days Friday a day after a storm blew through and dumped between 5 and 8 inches of much-needed snow in the Rockies.
There are now four ski areas open in Colorado; aside from Keystone and Copper, Arapahoe Basin has been open since Oct. 21 and Loveland opened Nov. 10.
— Copper Mountain (@CopperMtn) November 18, 2016
— Keystone Resort (@KeystoneMtn) November 18, 2016
Colorado has been in the midst of a dry, warm spell for much of the past months, and several ski areas have pushed their opening days back several times over the past couple of weeks.
But Breckenridge is set to open Saturday after getting some snow in Thursday’s storm, and many others are scheduled to open next week in time for the busy Thanksgiving weekend.
— Breckenridge Resort (@breckenridgemtn) November 18, 2016
Purgatory says it will open one lift for skiing Saturday, and one for mountain biking from 1 to 5 p.m. Its website says it expects the "full" opening day to be Nov. 19.
— Purgatory Resort (@skipurg) November 17, 2016
Slated to open next week, but subject to change, are:
- Purgatory (Nov. 19)
- Beaver Creek (Nov. 23)
- Winter Park (Nov. 23)
- Aspen Snowmass (Nov. 24 – though may just be beginner runs)
- Crested Butte (Nov. 24)
- Steamboat (Nov. 24)
- Wolf Creek (Nov. 24)
- Vail (Nov. 25)
Telluride, Eldora (originally scheduled to open Friday), and Monarch have still yet to finalize their opening days.
Sunlight is currently set to open Dec. 9; Ski Cooper is set for Dec. 10; Buttermilk is set to open Dec. 10; Aspen Highlands is set for Dec. 10; Powderhorn is set for Dec. 15; and backcountry skiing in Silverton is set to open Dec. 29.
Most of the resorts are opening close-to on time, but several have been pushed back. However, Thursday’s storm should bring some relief, and freezing temperatures expected Friday and overnight into Saturday should allow them to continue making snow.
Despite the lack early season snow, out-of-state bookings do not appear to be affected.
Denver-based research company Destimetrics, which tracks ski bookings, shows reservations are up 15 percent over the same time last year.
"Economically -- the destination guest is the heart of the industry. But emotionally, the local guest is the soul,” said Ralf Garrison, director of Destimetrics.
Garrison said although this year has been fairly dry, Colorado's ski resorts benefit from what he calls, 'snow equity,' -- years of positive publicity and fresh powder.