On Friday, Arapahoe Basin announced it would kick off its 2013/14 ski season on Sunday, October 13—an announcement that was met with open arms from eager skiers and snowboarders in Colorado, the Freeskier crew among them.
As I rummaged through my gear early Sunday morning, the anticipation was sky high, and I kept asking myself, “Is it really opening day already?” After meeting up with fellow members of the crew at the T-Rex Parking Lot in Golden, a popular carpool meeting spot for skiers across Colorado’s Front Range, we headed west, smiles on our faces and thoughts of arching turns atop the Continental Divide filling our heads.
We arrived and set up the Freeskier tent at the front row of A-Basin’s infamous “Beach,” the primary parking lot located across from the Pallavicini and Black Mountain lifts, that also serves as one of the best aprés scenes in Summit County. The grill was unloaded and hot dogs sizzled under the sunny October sky. People waited out long lines in the A-Frame lodge just to get their hands on one of A-Basin’s famed Bacon Bloody Marys or to be welcomed into the Basin’s esteemed “Mug Club.” The Sunday morning opening meant that no one had to call in sick to work, and could head to the slopes guilt free. The crowds were out in force, including the infamous Nate Dogggg, who had been camping out since 1:00 p.m. on Friday to grab 1st chair for the 18th straight season.
The Nate Dogggg crew takes first chair for the 18th straight year.
“We got super lucky on today’s opening,” says Adrienne Saia Isaac, marketing and communications manager for A-Basin. “Tremendous early season snow, incredible snowmaking up until last night. There’s a lot of excited people out here on a Sunday. A lot of people didn’t have to call out of work this year.”
Skiers donned zany costumes, as well as one gentleman who sported a saxophone that he played while making turns down the hill. As the day went on, warmer temperatures softened up the snow, and skiers enjoyed spring-like skiing on the High Noon run. Four terrain park features were also available to satiate the appetite of the jibbers in attendance.
The 2012/13 Colorado ski season took a while to get underway, with much of the season’s snowfall coming in late March and April, but yesterday’s early opening has everyone’s hopes high for a stellar season. A-Basin is already working on getting its second run open.
“We’re going to get Ramrod open, blowing snow on our second trail already,” says Isaac. “You know, we’re going to shred into June. It’s going to be a good year up here at the Basin.”
The spirit of skiing was alive and well yesterday. No, it wasn’t nipple deep conditions, and yes, there was only one run open, but the crowds lasted deep into the afternoon. Skiers were just happy to be back on their planks, railing turns and having a great time with good friends and strangers alike.
One hell of a line to welcome in the ski season. Can you say, stoked?
As the days go on and the temperatures continue to drop, other resorts across the country will follow suit, opening up the slopes for the season. Loveland Ski Area, A-Basin’s usual counterpart in the race to open first in Colorado, will surely be opening soon, and Timberline Lodge in Oregon is set to open up the Palmer Snowfield this Friday, October 18.
Be sure to continue your snow dances and prayers to Ullr; keep your edges sharp and your bases waxed; and get out there as much as you possibly can. We’ll be seeing you on the mountain. Here’s to an epic 2013/14 ski season.