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Major Dumps Prompt Earlier-Than-Scheduled Openings In West

Ski-Cooper-Scenic High elevation and early storms allows Ski Cooper to open early. (Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge/Facebook)

A number of double-digit snowfalls coursed across Colorado in early November, giving four resorts in Colorado and one in Utah a chance to open early.

Although skiing and riding will be limited, the combination of several storms across the midsection of the Rockies and a month of cold temps for snowmaking make conditions for first turns better than expected.

Here’s a look at which resorts are dropping the ropes earlier than anticipated:

Ski Cooper had planned to open in early December, but its snow-grabbing location atop the Continental Divide has pushed things up to Nov. 23. New at the Leadville-area day mountain will be a yurt dinner series four times a year.

First-day crowds eager for inaugural run of season at Vail. (Vail Mountain/Facebook)

Over Tennessee Pass, Vail Mountain has pushed up its 2018-2019 season by a couple of days. The lifts began turning Nov. 15 to deliver skiers and riders to some 500 acres of open terrain – thanks in part to major snowmaking upgrades over the summer. Once snow falls in earnest, visitors will find 30 percent more grooming on the Back Bowls.

Beaver Creek alll spiffed up for new season. (Beaver Creek/Facebook)

Next door, Beaver Creek’s Centennial Express will bring skiers and ‘boarders to the top for a cruise to bottom. Four lifts will be open around the mountain, including the short Haymeadow Express that will give early-birds a peek at the upgraded Haymeadow Park with terrain and parks dedicated beginners.

Natural snow builds up for Aspen Mountain early opening. (Aspen Mountain/Facebook)

The Elk Mountain Range caught plenty of the November snow so that Aspen Mountain will spin its lifts five days early on Saturday, Nov. 17. About 130 acres will be served by four lifts on One & Two Leaf, Upper Copper, Deer Park, Silver Bell, Silver Dip and Dipsy along with Spar Gulch and Little Nell.

Southern Rockies gem Monarch has gotten enough snow to open five days early, on Friday, Nov. 16 – its earliest since 1996. Regulars at the Salida-area day mountain will notice how summer thinning has opened up more tree skiing and riding.

Crews at work to get Brian Head ready for Utah's second early opening. (Brian Head/Facebook) 

And, with early storms staying south, Utah’s Brian Head started its season on Friday, Nov. 16 – the second Utah resort behind Brighton.

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