Arapahoe Basin ski area took advantage of recent snowstorms in Colorado following a week or so of snowmaking in order to claim the 'first to open in the US' title.
After Keystone resort announced yesterday, Friday 11th, that they planned to open for the season today (October 12th), Arapahoe Basin announced they'd open late Friday afternoon. In an unusual move opening at 3.30pm for a few hours, usually the end of the ski day in North America.
Loveland, another high altitude Colorado ski area, had earlier announced it would not open this weekend.
"The race to be the first to open in Colorado and the country is always a treat. Vail has announced that Keystone is opening tomorrow. I know Loveland is right on their tail. Congratulations to both resorts," commented Arapahoe Basin's manager Alan Henceroth yesterday afternoon Colorado-time, "We are proud to announce that we will open Black Mountain Express today, Friday, October 11, from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Our team has done an extraordinary job making snow, grooming snow, getting the annual tramway licenses, hiring staff, training staff, etc. etc. etc. We have been having fun. I can't wait to get my skis on. As I write, the cat drivers are putting the finishing touches on the snow. The lift ops and the ski patrollers are getting their gear in order. The staff gets an A+ for this one."
The battle between Arapahoe Basin and Keystone to open first is also a battle between the two giant season pass groups of North America, Vail's Epic Pass and the Alterra Group's Ikon Pass. Arapahoe Basin has moved from Epic to Ikon this year.
As there are no areas currently open in Canada, Arapahoe Basin is also the first to open for the 19-20 season in North America.