In The Spotlight
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is set to drop the ropes a week early to give season pass holders the privilege of putting down the first tracks of 2018-2019.
The formal opening date has been set for Oct. 26, but mountain managers announced that the Wizard lift will begin spinning on Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20) with access to three beginner runs at the base of the California mountain. They point to the installation of 17 new snow guns this summer – and a long-term commitment to early-season snowmaking – as the reasons why Mt. Rose can open earlier than expected.
The café and bar in the Main Lodge will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The equipment rental and repair shop, ski school, and retail shops will not be open.
Skiers and riders can purchase and pick up season passes in the Main Lodge. Pre-season rates, which start at $199, will be in effect and last until Sunday online.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, the Main Lodge will open for a “hiring mixer” for people interested in getting a full- or part-time job at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe for the winter.
Oct. 19 is the earliest date that the Nevada mountain has opened; it began operations on Oct. 26, 2017.
Located a half-hour drive from Reno, Mt. Rose has the highest base elevation (8,260) in the Lake Tahoe region – as well as one of the longest steeps in the 1,500 vertical feet of The Chutes.
Update October 18 1 p.m.: Sunday River Ski Resort intends to open for the 2018/19 winter season tomorrow, Friday, October 19, at 10 a.m. The resort expects to open on the T2 trail, accessible via the Locke Mountain Triple lift in Barker Basin. All plans depend on weather and snow conditions; keep an eye on the resort’s website and social media channels for the most up-to-date information.
“As always, we’re dedicated to getting our trails open as fast as possible our passholders and loyal guests,” says Resort President and General Manager, Dana Bullen. “This commitment is shown through the improvements we made to our system this summer, and continues as we take advantage of these favorable snowmaking temperatures before the foliage has fallen.”
The resort also opened on October 19 during the 2015-16 season, which is the second earliest date for skiing and riding in the resort’s history. Lift tickets will be $30 for all ages and available to purchase at the Barker Lodge. All 2018-19 New England Passes will be available to purchase or pick up at the South Ridge Lodge.
The resort expects to open on Friday, and weather permitting, plans to be open on Saturday and Sunday as well. The early season lift schedule will usually operate on weekends only until mid-November after opening day.
The forecast in Maine is calling for sustained snowmaking temps. And Sunday River is taking full advantage. Wax 'em up.
Snowmakers and Mother Nature were hard at work last night. Snowmaking started up with top-to-bottom blasting on T2, Upper Sunday Punch, and Sunday Punch. Plus, they woke up to 2-3" of new snow blanketing the mountain.
“We received 2-3” of new snow last night and the snow guns are running on Locke Mountain. Temperatures look ideal to continue to make snow today, but with Friday and Saturday warming up, we haven’t made the call yet on opening this weekend,” Sunday River’s Karolyn Castaldo told SnoCountry.com.
“Our current temperatures are great for firing up the snowmaking system using the new pipeline and pump that we installed over the summer, which allows us to get 15 percent more water to our on-mountain infrastructure from our water source,” Castaldo told us. “With a higher water capacity, we’re able to make snow more quickly with sustained cold temperatures. The forecasts are showing that we’ll get those temperatures next week as well.”
Sunday River typically opens for the season with skiing off of the Locke Mountain Triple with midstation access and add top-to-bottom ASAP.
While Wolf Creek took the First To Open title for the 2018-19 season last weekend, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are following close behind and will be the first resorts to open for seven-day-a-week runs starting this Friday and Saturday. Killington will once again take the honors of first to open in the East this Friday.
As of October 19, Arapahoe Basin will be open to the public seven days a week until early June. Black Mountain Express Lift will service the intermediate High Noon trail from mid-mountain to the base. The small Banana Terrain Park will be open with several features.
A-Basin lifts will turn starting at 9 a.m. Friday with lift tickets through Dec. 21 at $85 for adults, $70 for youth, and $41 for children. Children age 5 and under ski free every day of the season.
“Thanks to lots of hard work from our skilled snowmaking team and two feet of snow from Mother Nature, we are excited to announce that Loveland Ski Area will open with exceptional early season conditions this Saturday,” said Rob Goodell, chief operating officer. “We hope this early season snow is the start of a generous winter and invite everyone to join us on Saturday as we kick-off another long and powder packed season at Loveland.”
Loveland’s new high-speed detachable quad, Chet’s Dream, will run 8:30 - 4:00 Saturday with one top-to-bottom run covered from tree-to-tree with an 18-inch base. Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run make up this opening day run, which is over a mile in length and nearly 1000 vertical feet.
Loveland will be open seven days a week until early May. Early season lift tickets are $65 for adults and $31 for children 6-14.
Vermont’s Killington will kick off its 2018-19 winter season at 10 a.m. Friday, October 19, becoming the first Eastern resort to open for skiing and snowboarding.
The first turns of the season will be reserved for Season Pass, Express Card, Beast365 and Ikon Pass holders. The resort will open to the general public on Saturday, October 20 at 9 a.m.
The K-1 Express Gondola will provide uploading and downloading to open terrain for skiers and snowboarders from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and the North Ridge Triple lift will allow uploading until 3:45 p.m. Skiers and snowboarders will use the Peak Walkway to access open terrain and return to the K-1 Express Gondola for the trip down to the base area when finished for the day. Skiing and snowboarding will be on advanced terrain only, providing roughly 600 vertical feet of open trails.
Beginning Saturday, daily lift tickets will be $59 for adults, $45 for youth and $50 for seniors.
Fall and the first tastes of winter continue to duke it out across North America. With occasional bursts of cold and spurts of snow continuing in this week’s forecast, it’s a reminder that winter, truly, is not far away.
Western U.S. & Canada
After the recent cold snap and record low temperatures for parts of the Rockies, ski areas took advantage and fired up the snow machines. Natural snow fell as far south as Ski Santa Fe, New Mexico- one of the southernmost ski areas in the U.S.
While the natural snow coverage may taper this week, enough moisture builds in from the south to spread just a little more white stuff over the higher peaks of the Four Corner states. Two new Colorado ski areas open up this weekend: Arapahoe Basin on Friday the 19th, and Loveland Ski Area on Saturday the 20th. They join Wolf Creek, the winner of the “race to open.”
Eastern U.S. & Canada
After a stretch of mild temperatures so far this fall, there are signs of a changing (colder) pattern for the eastern U.S. Temps at night have dipped cold enough to get the snow guns fired up, here, too. Just check out the view at Killington.
Expect much chillier weather to come in spurts this week. Brisk air and even scattered snow flurries will cover northern New York and New England mountains through Thursday. Expect light accumulation, perhaps 1-3", at the peaks of northern Vermont and New Hampshire, adding to the array of color at Jay Peak. A briefly milder Friday-Saturday before another strong cold front plows through, once again bringing scattered light flurries and snow showers to the peaks after Sunday.
Check back with SnoCast next week as we get closer to more ski areas announcing opening dates.