The calendar may say that it is still mid-October but winter appears to be closer than you might think. Early season snows across the western U.S.A have already started covering some of the more popular ski and snowboard destinations with fresh powder and as a result opening day for some of the top resorts isn’t all that far off. In keeping with tradition, Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin became the first of those resorts to open this past weekend, welcoming skiers and snowboarders this past Sunday
Known as A-Basin to its regular visitors, the resort is located a short drive west of Denver and is always a popular draw amongst skiers and snowboarders looking to escape some of Colorado’s more well known and glamorous mountains. Arapahoe is known for being much more laid back than Aspen or Vail and a good place for those who simply want to ski with few distractions. At the moment, only a single run is open but at the height of winter the hill boasts 109 trails spread out across 900 skiable acres. With a current base of 18″ and steady snow showers in the forecast, it won’t take long for the resort to open more runs. Fortunately the mountain features plenty of fast ski lifts to keep up with the pace at the height of the season.
Arapahoe Basin boasts one of the longest ski seasons in all of Norther America. It is always amongst the first resorts to open each year and the last to close. It is not uncommon for the season to run from October to July, giving season ticket holders quite a bang for their buck. Since the summit falls at a relatively high altitude (13,050 ft) and the mountain stays out of direct sunlight by facing in a northeasterly direction, the snows tend to fly early and often, then stick around for months on end. Arapahoe averages approximately 350 inches of total snowfall each year, which means that there is usually plenty of powder to please even the most experienced skier.
If the early snowfalls across the west continue, A-Basin won’t remain the only option for long. Other resorts are already preparing for their first visitors of the year with Mammoth Mountain in California setting an opening date of November 7 and most other places preparing to open before Thanksgiving. Soon there will be plenty of mountains to choose from but until then if you want to get your fix you’ll need to visit Arapahoe Basin.