DENVER, Colo. — A fresh blanket of snow fell across much of Colorado earlier this week and coupled with recent cooler temperatures perfect for snowmaking, several ski resorts are getting closer to opening.
Wolf Creek Ski Area will be the first ski area to open after receiving 22 inches of snow from last weekend's storm. Their midway stake is reading 22 inches with 24 inches at the summit. Three of their lifts, Treasure, Bonanza and Nova, will be operating Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 with a complete November schedule to be determined by Sunday. They'll be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their ski school and restaurants are closed.
Here's when to expect Colorado ski areas to open for the 2020-2021 season. Note: Some of them may open sooner than expected or later than announced depending on snow conditions.
- Nov. 6: Keystone Ski Resort
- Nov. 9: Arapahoe Basin
- Nov. 11: Loveland Ski Area
- Nov. 13: Breckenridge Ski Resort
- Nov. 20: Monarch Mountain and Vail Resorts
- Nov. 21: Purgatory Resort and Steamboat Ski Area
- Nov. 23: Eldora Mountain
- Nov. 25: Beaver Creek Resort, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Silverton Mountain
- Nov. 26: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass and Telluride Ski Resort
- Nov. 27: Echo Mountain and Powderhorn Mountain Resort
- Nov. 28: Howelsen Hill Ski Area
- Nov. 30: Copper Mountain and Winter Park Resort
- Dec. 9: Ski Cooper
- Dec. 11: Granby Ranch and Sunlight Mountain Resort
- Dec. 12: Aspen Highland and Kendall Mountain Ski Area
- Dec. 18: Buttermilk
- Dec. 19: Lake City Ski Hill
- Dec. 20: Lee's Ski Hill
Chapman Hill Ski Area typically opens in December and Cranor Ski Hill hopes to open before Christmas, depending on snow conditions. Ski Hesparus' opening date is to be determined.
This comes after the 2019-2020 season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order March 14 suspending operations at all Colorado ski resorts. A-Basin was given the green light to reopen to a max of 600 guests on May 27 by reservation. Their season officially ended June 7.
On Oct. 14, the state released guidelines for ski areas to reopen. It includes:
- Promoting the purchase of lift tickets online or over the phone, reducing in-person contact
- Mask-wearing in all indoor and outdoor spaces, with exceptions for dining and actively skiing or riding
- Keeping gondola windows open, even in bad weather, and limiting gondolas to 50% capacity
- Requiring six feet of distance between parties in lift lines, including expanding staging areas.
- Limiting ski school groups to 10 people or less, not including instructors
Many of the ski areas preparing to open have already released extensive plans on how they'll keep their guests safe. Some, like Copper Mountain and Eldora Mountain, have chosen to open later than usual to ensure more acreage and lifts are open to allow for social distancing.
Monarch Mountain has suggested skiers avoid weekends if they're able to enjoy time on the mountain during the work week, as well as avoiding busy days, like around Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Howelsen Ski Area said their starting construction on 10-12 foot A-frames next week to place throughout the ski area for people to eat or warm up in.
Several resorts, including Purgatory Resort, Telluride Ski Resort and Winter Park Resort have announced contactless options for several of their features and services like lift tickets, lessons, rentals and dining. Be sure to check out a resort's COVID-19 guidelines before heading out to the slopes.