Will this be the first year since 1992 that one of the two Front Range ski areas which typically open for early season skiing and riding are unable to operate in October?
With the month ending on Saturday, Loveland has already announced that it won’t be open, while Arapahoe Basin is being non-committal.
“Not opening today,” A-Basin spokeswoman Katherine Fuller wrote in an opaque email Friday morning. “Could be during, before or after this weekend.”
Loveland sent out an alert regarding its status on Thursday.
“Our snowmakers have had some amazing nights of snowmaking but we’re still a little ways out from Opening Day 2020,” according to a Loveland news release. “It was a beautiful bluebird day today and our trail maintenance team was busy in the snowcats pushing snow around the runs. Loveland will not open this weekend but we hope to open in the next week or two.”
RELATED: When Colorado ski resorts plan to open this season
Since 2000, the average date for the first Front Range area to open has been Oct. 16, according to records kept by The Denver Post. Over that time, the earliest came in 2009, with Loveland opening on Oct. 7 and Arapahoe Basin opening two days later. The latest over that time was 2015, when both opened on Oct. 29.
Although Arapahoe Basin so far has refused to rule out opening on Saturday, chief operating officer Alan Henceroth acknowledged there have been challenges to snowmaking this year.
“This past storm was very good for us,” Henceroth wrote on his blog Tuesday. “Colorado’s drought, however, has impacted snowmaking. Our ability to make snow is driven by many factors including streamflow. The higher the streamflow, the more water we have for snowmaking. The lower the streamflow, the less water we have for snowmaking. Following a dry summer and fall, our snowmaking is moving a little slower than most of you want to see. With the recent snow and sunny days forecast all week, we are seeing a big jump in streamflows. On top of that, our restrictions on diverting water are more favorable for snowmaking in November and December. After a good snowmaking start earlier this month, the last week has been kind of slow. We anticipate a good bump in snowmaking later this week and through November.”
In some years, the Wolf Creek ski area 230 miles southwest of Denver at Wolf Creek Pass is able to beat the Front Range rivals, and that happened this week when Wolf Creek opened on Wednesday.
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