We have arrived at the beginning of May, but there are still plenty of areas you can take in some turns! We take a look at who will hang onto the snow the longest.
Always powder in the early days. (International Ski History Association)
National Ski Areas Association recently published a list of when ski areas opened. Nonetheless, the debate over which hill gets to claim the title continues.
Loveland chairlift ready to be first open. (Loveland/Facebook)
It’s the time of year when the first snow hits the high ridges, the ski shows debut – and resorts begin to announce the day that the new ski and snowboard season will arrive.
Kayak racing at Monarch (Monarch/Facebook)
As the end of another season is in sight, Colorado skiers and snowboarders go a little crazy knowing that they will soon have to find another way to fulfill their mountain jones. Such anxiety translates into a number of wacky spring traditions.
Beyond pond skimming and beer guzzlin', SnoCountry took a look around the high country of the Centennial State and came up with a sampling of the off-beat, unconventional ways to celebrate both the end of the season and the beginning of spring.
Eldora. Denver's neighborhood mountain has made a habit of returning to its roots every spring. The annual Eldora Retro Days kick off April 1-2 with folks digging through their closets for throwback skiing outfits – “onesie” powder suits, neon headbands, ski bibs, outrageous sunglasses. The resort is set to close the next weekend, and retro gear dominates the final week.
Monarch. The southern Colorado mountain combines its vernal celebration with the upcoming river boating season on the Arkansas River with its annual Kayaks on Snow race April 15. Adventurous paddlers navigate berms, banks and bumps before splashing into the traditional icy pond. The next day, April 16, is the last day of the season with a sendoff cookoff and tailgate party in the parking lot.
Loveland. At a mountain that doesn't plan to close until May, the party begins a month early with the "world's highest cornhole competition" April 1. Skiers and riders will form two-person teams and ride up Chair 1 to the Continental Divide. From there, they will toss bean bags into a hole at 12,700 feet – on hopes of setting a Guinness World Record for the activity.
Aspen Highlands. April 9 is closing day and, to finish off the season, the ninth annual Schneetag race goes full bore. Four-man teams build a "craft" that will slide down the main slope and across a small pond at the bottom. At the top, they perform a skit to exemplify the theme of their craft. Winners choose from a list of prizes.
Hundreds of A-Basin regulars line up for chance to make first runs of the season. (Arapahoe Basin/Webcam)
The sun snuck over the ridge at just past 7 a.m. Friday, illuminating the base area at Arapahoe Basin and signaling that the 2016-2017 ski and snowboard season would soon be underway.
A couple of hours later, shouts of joy resounded off the walls of the Continental Divide as several hundred folks queued up into their first lift line of the season, let the first chair of the season bump into their calves, felt that familiar swing of lift-off and, officially, opened up the new season in the United States and Canada.
“Let’s get this party started!” was the mantra tweeted out on Friday morning.
And indeed it did, amid the whoosh of chairs accelerating out of the base terminal, the roar of snowmaking guns on the hill, and the shouts and cheers of the adoring crowd.
Arapahoe Basin “won” the annual race to be the first to start this season, after “tying” with Loveland Ski Area in the West last year with an Oct. 29 opening. Resort operations head Alan Henceroth said consistently sub-freezing temps – especially at night – kept snowmaking guns roaring, and Mother Nature blessed the slopes with another 4-5 inches in the last couple of days.
"The stoke level is definitely high here, it’s absolutely electric, you can really feel the passion people have for this mountain," Arapahoe Basin's Adrienne Saia Isaac told SnoCountry.com."
The high-speed Black Mountain Express and intermediate High Noon trail welcomed eager skiers and riders another season at the iconic Summit County resort – seemingly plenty for the first-day crowd.
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.