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Colorado snowmaking starts up, October 2021

marzNC

Angel Diva
The usual three ski areas started up snowmaking in the last couple days. Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone are all in the race to be first to spin lifts. Could happen by Halloween given that a big snowstorm is expected the week of Oct. 11.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
The usual three ski areas started up snowmaking in the last couple days. Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone are all in the race to be first to spin lifts. Could happen by Halloween given that a big snowstorm is expected the week of Oct. 11.

Won't it be sooner if they've already started?? That's what I like about early season in the East, once the guns get going it's just a few days until go time!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Won't it be sooner if they've already started?? That's what I like about early season in the East, once the guns get going it's just a few days until go time!
Top-to-bottom is a lot longer out in Colorado than in New England. From my observation, having one top-to-bottom trail open is the goal. So it really depends on how much Mother Nature helps out in the next couple weeks.

The other consideration is that unlike most mountains in the east, water is not unlimited out west. In fact, Al said that they didn't make snow on night in order to conserve water for a better snowmaking window that's coming up.


In the NC mountains, Cataloochee and Appalachian can open up with only about 48 hours of round-the-clock snowmaking. But that's because there is less than 50 acres and 100% coverage with hundreds of snowguns, both fixed and portable.

I've learned a fair amount over the years about snowmaking after starting this thread:
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
That makes sense with water for sure! Haha yeah we try for top to bottom, but also go with just the top and downloading when necessary out here.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
And remember that a lot of the western resorts only have snowmaking on the lower portions of the mountain. Not like us in the east top to bottom.

I think A Basin only has snowmaking on the lower portions, and Dercum's Guluch to mid station.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
And remember that a lot of the western resorts only have snowmaking on the lower portions of the mountain. Not like us in the east top to bottom.

I think A Basin only has snowmaking on the lower portions, and Dercum's Guluch to mid station.

Interesting, I didn't know that actually!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
And remember that a lot of the western resorts only have snowmaking on the lower portions of the mountain. Not like us in the east top to bottom.
I think that's been changing for the destination resorts in the Rockies. I know Keystone upgraded their snowmaking in recent years to make sure they could get a top-to-bottom blue open from Day 1. Once ABasin left Epic, that made it even more important to be able to open up Keystone as early as possible.

Don't know about ABasin. Maybe @RachelV knows?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Interesting, I didn't know that actually!
What I found very different from the east is that snowmaking in the west pretty much used to end by early Jan, if not mid-Dec if there was enough natural snow coverage. The goal of course is to have as much open as possible for the holiday period. That's been shifting in recent years at destination resorts though.

Once the early season snowmaking is done snowmakers would move on to other jobs. Sometimes at the same resort. Pre-pandemic there were very experienced snowmakers from Australia or New Zealand who would just go home.

I had a chance to talk with a first-year snowmaker at Alta who was able to get a job as a groomer for the rest of the season. He had no experience at either job and it was easier to start as a snowmaker trainee. He could prove his work ethic that way.
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
I think that's been changing for the destination resorts in the Rockies. I know Keystone upgraded their snowmaking in recent years to make sure they could get a top-to-bottom blue open from Day 1. Once ABasin left Epic, that made it even more important to be able to open up Keystone as early as possible.

Don't know about ABasin. Maybe @RachelV knows?

A-Basin starts off with the guns on High Noon, then moves them over to Ramrod, then they do take the guns all the way up to open up Dercum's Gulch from the top all the way down. Once they get the one main route from the top open, they don't do any more snowmaking up top as far as I know.

I do think that Keystone's early season product is way better than A-Basin's. They installed permanent snow guns all along Schoolmarm, and they get that open and also the whole pod of trails that go off to the right from Schoolmarm down to the Montezuma Express. It's really a lot of skiing.

However, with Keystone being on the Epic Pass and no one wanting to use Ikon days for the WROD, A-Basin is pretty empty early season now, which is pretty sweet.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
However, with Keystone being on the Epic Pass and no one wanting to use Ikon days for the WROD, A-Basin is pretty empty early season now, which is pretty sweet.
Hmm, I'll keep that in mind. My usual crew is skiing Wolf Creek the week of Dec. 13. I decided to drive to Colorado instead of dealing with holiday week flights on the way home. I'll be driving back east via Cleveland to drop off Jason. That means the two of us could stop by ABasin on the way out of Colorado.

After a week in Pagosa Springs, I should be pretty adjusted to the altitude. That's always an issue for me at ABasin.
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
Hmm, I'll keep that in mind. My usual crew is skiing Wolf Creek the week of Dec. 13. I decided to drive to Colorado instead of dealing with holiday week flights on the way home. I'll be driving back east via Cleveland to drop off Jason. That means the two of us could stop by ABasin on the way out of Colorado.

After a week in Pagosa Springs, I should be pretty adjusted to the altitude. That's always an issue for me at ABasin.
Cleveland rocks... what does Jason do?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Cleveland rocks... what does Jason do?
He's a family physician and professor at a medical school, recently semi-retired. His family and my husband's family were connected decades ago when they were growing up in Chicago. Jason's wife is a non-skier and so is my husband. Jason was my ski/travel companion for my first Diva West. We went to north Tahoe in 2010 and had a grand time.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Well, turns out that Wolf Creek is going to scoop the ski areas/resorts that started snowmaking first. WC is going to spin lifts this weekend! The storm dropped 14 inches. :snow:

Saturday, October 16th, and Sunday, October 17th, Wolf Creek will open the Nova Lift and Lynx Lift from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Grooming is taking place with Mountain Operations evaluating Treasure and Bonanza terrain. Please check back for updates as the weekend approaches.

The Upper Lodge will be open serving a delicious, but limited menu. Pathfinder Bar, Ski Rental and Boarder Dome will be open. Ski School will be available with Private Lessons. Face coverings will be required in all indoor public settings. A full 2021-22 COVID-19 Operating Plan can be found on here.
Wolf Creek will then reopen weekends until Mother Nature comes again with a new venue.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Well, turns out that Wolf Creek is going to scoop the ski areas/resorts that started snowmaking first. WC is going to spin lifts this weekend! The storm dropped 14 inches. :snow:

Saturday, October 16th, and Sunday, October 17th, Wolf Creek will open the Nova Lift and Lynx Lift from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Grooming is taking place with Mountain Operations evaluating Treasure and Bonanza terrain. Please check back for updates as the weekend approaches.

The Upper Lodge will be open serving a delicious, but limited menu. Pathfinder Bar, Ski Rental and Boarder Dome will be open. Ski School will be available with Private Lessons. Face coverings will be required in all indoor public settings. A full 2021-22 COVID-19 Operating Plan can be found on here.
Wolf Creek will then reopen weekends until Mother Nature comes again with a new venue.

Is there any chance A Basin can swoop in? Lol. I feel like when possible they love to pull the rug out from others who think they are getting first opening, at the last minute. Wasn’t it Keystone they did that to a couple of years ago, by opening the an afternoon the day before Keystone was opening in the morning? :rotf: Like, why announce it so early? Why not just open?? Maybe this time no one else has a chance though.
 

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