Snowmaking at Killington begins at the top. (Killington/Facebook)
Opening day is on the minds of skiers and snowboarders already, and brace of resorts have turned on snow guns – and turned eyes to the skies -- in hopes of being the first to open in 2016-2017.
In the East, the competition boils down to Killington or Sunday River – and cooperating temperatures.
Killington has an edge this season as, for the first time, the central Vermont mountain hosts the Women’s World Cup in late November. Additional snow guns have been set up on Superstar, the site for both the giant slalom and slalom. And, snowmaking has begun in earnest on the Northridge area near the summit and the K-1 Gondola, mountain officials told SnoCountry.com.
Over in Maine at Sunday River, snow guns are out with a target of opening top to bottom on Norther Lights on Aurora Peak via the Chondola and Aurora Peak Quad, said Sunday River’s Darcy Lambert.
Out West, the standards for early-season skiing and riding are Continental Divide resorts Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area. Neither of them has set a firm opening date, although the friendly competition is as fierce as ever. Last season, they both opened on Oct. 29.
At A-Basin, snowmaking is pounding High Noon from mid-mountain down in hopes of getting enough cover to open in by mid-month. Black Mountain Express will be the first lift to spin.
“We open when we have a skiable base from mid-mountain to the base area,” A-Basin’s Adrienne Saia Isaac told us.
Just up the Divide, Loveland Ski Area aims for mid- to late-October for opening. They put down enough snow – and pray from some from the skies – in order to open a top-to-bottom run – a mile long with 1,000 of vert -- made up of portions of Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun, and service by Lift 1.