But make a drive up Loveland Pass today, and as you cross over the Continental Divide and head down towards Breckenridge, white snow blankets the slopes of Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort. And one trail in particular iseven more snowy white than the others, having built up a base of frozen stuff courtesy of the snowmaking staff at the resort.
Mark it down — October 21, 2016. Another Colorado ski season begins anew with the opening of the High Noon trail at A-Basin today. As I was working today in Nederland, I happened to mention it to a passing tourist. Some people visiting from Iowa raised their eyebrows — “Did you say that a ski resort opened today?”
It scarcely seemed possible, especially for those who hail from back east or in the midwest. It’s a long ways to go to winter, and most ski resorts are happy to open sometime before Christmas. But when you climb high into the Rockies to elevations of 11,000 feet and above, hints of winter abound.
The peaks of the Rockies have had snow on them now for well over a month. Temperatures have routinely been dropping down into the 20s and even teens at night. And snow making at Colorado ski resorts is ongoing to build up that base and secure bragging rights as the first ski resort to open.
Typically Arapahoe Basin and Loveland compete for that honor each year. Last season they opened on the exact same day. This year, A-Basin got the jump on snow making and got a little extra help from Mother Nature dumping a few inches of the natural white stuff here and there.
For me, even though my home resort of Winter Park is a few weeks from opening, it brings a smile to my face. There is something about skiing, riding the chairlift and gazing upon evergreens topped with snow. Getting off the chair, and gazing upon peak after snow-capped peak as far as the high can see. The swooshing sound of skis darting back and forth in the trees. The fluff of powder that hits you in the face. It makes me embrace winter and feel good to be alive.
So the significance of this day is not lost. Skiing is just around the corner — life is good.