The Colorado ski and snowboard season usually gets underway in October with the #racetoopen kicking off between Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Wolf Creek and Keystone.
In recent years, the race for first turns has led ski resorts to up their snowmaking game, pushing resorts to open earlier and earlier. It’s a trend that has shown no signs of slowing up any time soon, with some starting up the snow guns as early as mid-September
For years, Arapahoe Basin has been the king of early openings. With its elevation topping out at 13,050 feet and some of the highest lift-accessed skiing in North America, A-Basin gets cold quickly and takes full advantage.
Another high-altitude gem within easy striking distance of Denver (53 miles, to be exact), Loveland Ski Area enjoys 2,210 feet of vertical and 400 inches of snow annually, and always projects an October opening date - spinning the lifts as soon as conditions permit.
Wolf Creek has yet to set an opening date for the 2021-22 season, but, if history repeats itself, Wolf Creek is always a player! Thanks to two feet of natural snow, Wolf Creek ski area in southwest Colorado beat the Front Range rivals Loveland and Arapahoe Basin to become the first ski area in the state to open for the season last year on Oct. 28.
And then there is Keystone Resort. While it doesn't sport the high base altitudes of A-Basin, Loveland, and Wolf Creek, it does have a massive snowmaking system capable of producing enough snow - almost overnight if conditions permit - to completly cover a ski run and surprise everyone by turning a lift.
As for the remainder of the Colorado resorts, here is a rundown of scheduled opening dates for the 2021-22 season:
- Keystone: October
- Loveland: Late October
- Breckenridge: Nov. 12
- Vail: Nov. 12
- Eldora: Nov.19
- Purgatory: Nov. 20
- Steamboat: Nov. 20
- Copper Mountain: Nov. 22
- Beaver Creek: Nov. 24
- Crested Butte: Nov. 24
- Aspen Mountain: Nov. 25
- Snowmass: Nov. 25
- Telluride: Nov. 25
- Powderhorn: Nov. 26
- Cooper: Dec. 8
- Aspen Highlands: Dec. 11
- Buttermilk: Dec. 11
- Sunlight: Dec. 12
- TBD: Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill, Kendall Mountain, Monarch, Silverton, Winter Park, Wolf Creek
For those of you placing bets on the first to open for the season in the U.S., here is a rundown of the past 13 seasons.
- 20/21: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 28th
- 19/20: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 11th
- 18/19: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 13th
- 17/18: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 13th
- 16/17: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 21st
- 15/16: Killington, Vermont – October 18th
- 14/15: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 17th
- 13/14: Arapahoe Basin, Colorado – October 13th
- 12/13: Wild Mountain, Minnesota – October 18th
- 11/12: Wolf Creek, Colorado – October 11th
- 10/11: Sunday River, Maine – October 23rd
- 09/10: Loveland, Colorado – October 6th
- 08/09: Loveland, Colorado – October 7th