Arapahoe Basin opened to the public today, making it the second resort in Colorado to open for the 2011/2012 ski season (following Wolf Creek Ski Area last week). I say "second," yet many will argue that the true first opening goes to the ski area that opens, and remains open for the season. As Wolf Creek shut down their lifts this past week, many will now argue that A-Basin is this year's victor. The weather is warm, however, and with Loveland Ski Area opening tomorrow, perhaps it's still anybody's game. Time will tell.
Regardless, hordes of ski fanatics made their way up to the Basin this morning to get a taste of the goods. I arrived with crew dark and early, only to find countless others already on site. As expected, many people braved the early morning cold for 5-6 hours, waiting in line for a chance to hop on the coveted first chair.
Arapahoe Basin, opening day 2011/2012 | P: Henrik Lampert
As it turned out, nobody in that line made the first chair. Prior to the 9 a.m. opening, the management held a brief memorial for Arapahoe Basin founders Marnie Jump and Max Dercum who passed away this year. Two chairs were adorned with ribbons, and those two chairs were the first to go up, with Marnie and Max sittin' on each their own, for one last ride.
Then came the countdown. Ten, nine… three, two, one, and the line was dropped. So began one heck of a day up on the hill. Skiers and riders enjoyed sunny skies and warm temperatures. The snow was more than satisfactory, and despite only having one trail open (High Noon) it didn't seem all that crowded. The park crew erected four rail features in the High Divide Terrain Park, and not surprisingly a throng of park rats situated themselves there for the day to get their session' on.
First chair | P: Soren McCarty
Others found themselves at home in the parking lot, or on the so-called "Beach," knocking back PBRs, BBQing and playing games. Of course, many retreated to the bar inside the main lodge for their first Bacon Bloody Mary(s) of the season.
'Twas an awesome day at Arapahoe Basin, and as the debate rages on as to who is truly the first to open, one thing is for sure, Colorado is kicking serious ass right now.
Check back later tonight, or first thing in the morning as we'll be putting together an edit from the hill. Also, if you have some thoughts as to which resort is truly the first to open, don't be afraid to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
Arapahoe Basin opening day highlights