SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado ski resorts are busy getting the slopes ready for millions of visitors who will soon travel to the state from around the world.
The 2022-23 ski season saw record-breaking crowds of more than 14 million people, and more are expected this season.
“We actually think the outlook for winter is pretty darn good. We don’t see any major hurdles out there yet,” said Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin’s chief operating officer.
Freezing temperatures combined with 4 inches of snowfall in 24 hours allow the use of snowmaking machines, called snow guns. They can cover a full top-to-bottom run with an 18-inch base at Loveland Ski Area.
“We’ve been making snow since 9 p.m.,” Loveland Ski Area spokesperson John Sellers said on Thursday afternoon.
Snow guns at Vail Resort are amazingly efficient, with the capacity to fill a Goodyear blimp within 12 minutes.
Back at A-Basin, Henceroth showed FOX31 the snowmaking process.
“We take water, then we put it under high pressure and shoot it out into the sky. And when the water freezes, it comes down as little snow crystals,” Henceroth said.
When will Colorado ski resorts open?
The combination of natural snowfall, accumulation boosted by snowmaking machines and conditions for maintaining a safe snowpack determine how soon resorts can open.
“We go as high as 13,000 feet, and the lifts go up over 12,450 feet. The mountain faces north, so the snow stays nice and cool,” Henceroth said.
Arapahoe Basin will open as soon as the slopes are ready to accommodate skiers and snowboarders safely. Loveland Ski Area is expected to open at the end of October or the beginning of November.
Keystone could open in late October, Vail and Breckenridge are likely to open on Nov. 10 and Beaver Creek is on schedule to open on Nov. 22.
Many resorts are offering new features. Vail will debut a new high-speed chairlift providing access to 550 acres.
Resorts are offering discounts. Customers should check online for eligibility and prices.
Sellers, at Loveland Ski Area, shared this deal: “A great way to save is our four-pack: Get four unrestricted lift tickets for just $269.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation said drivers should make sure to have their car winterized with appropriate tires and carry an emergency kit with water, food and extra clothing. Always check road conditions before traveling to the high country by visiting COtrip.org.