The Colorado ski season is on! It’s not especially early (last year, Wolf Creek opened on October 8), and it’s not especially snowy, but hey, who cares? We’ve taken another step closer to winter. Coupled with the spectacular autumn snow in the Alps and Scandinavia on Tuesday, it’s got Welove2ski’s whiskers twitching.
High-altitude Arapahoe Basin, whose base lodge is set at the dizzying height of 10,780ft/3,286m, was first to get its lifts spinning this winter. After a stop-start two-week effort with its snow cannons and piste-bashers it opened one trail (High Noon) and a small terrain park yesterday, October 17.
For a while, it looked as though its great rival Loveland might get there first, but last weekend its snow-making effort seemed to lose a bit of momentum, and it’s not likely to open until the coming weekend.
There’s was fresh snow in several Colorado ski towns yesterday, to add to the gathering air of anticipation. Breckenridge, which is due to open on November 9, woke up to about 5cm of snow.
There was fresh snow on Copper Mountain, too, which is due to open on November 2.
Meanwhile, up in Alaska, Alyeska had about 15cm of snow at the bottom of the lifts yesterday. The resort has another five weeks until its opening day – though you can’t help but wonder: if it carries on like this, maybe they’ll open early…
By the way, in case you’re wondering what’s happening to all that lovely snow in the Alps – well, it’s being put to good use in the glacier ski areas. But lower down it’s melting fast, as a powerful thaw sets in. Below is a graphic demonstration of how quickly it has warmed up in the last two days, courtesy of two webcam shots of Findeln, above Zermatt in Switzerland. One was taken on Tuesday morning, October 16; the other this afternoon, October 18. Clearly, we’re not looking at the start of winter just yet!