North America’s 17-18 Ski Season Kicks Off on Friday

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 11th October 2017

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado has announced it plans to open this Friday, 13th October after a fortnight of snowmaking with some fresh natural snowfall on top.

The USA always has something of a race to be the first to open for the ski season which has in some years seen ski areas in Maine, and Vermont on the East Coast and California on the West claim to be first, but it’s usually a ski area in Colorado, and in recent years normally that’s Arapahoe Basin.

“Friday, October 13 will be opening day for the 2017-18 ski season. Our snowmaking efforts have gone very well with cold temperatures and high streamflows. I just walked High Noon. The snow coverage is really good. The snowmakers are already moving fan guns to Ramrod and Dercum’s Gulch. Two snow cat drivers will be in Wednesday to start pushing the snow around,” said Alan Henceroth, A Basin’s COO.

It’s possible another US ski area will open before Friday to claim to be first for 17-18, but A Basin’s main contender, its neighbour Loveland, has ruled itself out saying it needs a little longer to do more snowmaking before it opens.  The two centres are amongst the 10 highest in the world.

There is also one ski area in the US with a permanent snowfield, the Timberline ski field on Mt Hood in Oregon which is open for 10-11 months most years and has recently begun operating the lifts on its snowfield again.  Some feel that this makes Timberline the first to open whilst others say it’s Arapahoe Basin as it starts its snow coverage from scratch each autumn.

Arapahoe Basin has had the longest ski-season of any non- glacier or permanent snowfield resort in the world for the past few seasons, only closing for the 16-17 season in July having opened the previous July.

The first half of last autumn was warm in Western North America with many areas that planned to open in late October or early November delaying until mid-November after which much of the area received near constant snowfall all winter.

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