Snowstorm arrives in valley with countdown to Aspen's ski season well under way
Copper, Keystone, Wolf Creek will be next resorts in Colorado to fire up lifts
That’s welcome news for the state's ski industry as it looks to rebound from one of the warmest, driest winters in human-kept history. Two Colorado resorts – Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin – are already open for the 2012-13 ski season, and three more – Keystone, Wolf Creek and Copper Mountain – will join the fray on Friday, Nov. 2.
Forecasters are calling for 3-6 inches at the ski areas along Interstate 70 and north starting about 7 p.m. Wednesday. A few more inches could then fall on most resorts by the early morning hours Friday, according to Opensnow.com.
A couple of hundred lucky Copper Mountain season pass holder will get a chance to preview the product a week from now on Halloween, as Copper opens up its U.S. Ski Team Speed Center for VIP tours and lunch with members of the U.S. squad. They’ll be fresh from the World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, this weekend, where both men and women race giant slalom Oct. 27-28.
Copper Mountain season pass holders can enter to win a chance at the special Oct. 31 VIP preview on Copper’s Facebook page until Friday, Oct. 26.
Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are scheduled to open the season Nov. 22, Aspen Highlands on Dec. 8 and Buttermilk on Dec. 15.
Snowmaking crews at Vail, which doesn’t open to the public until Friday, Nov. 16, have been working hard to get Golden Peak online for U.S. Ski Team training as soon as the squad returns from Soelden. The latest storm could help provide much-needed natural snow and significantly lower temperatures ideal for snowmaking.
The 2013 U.S. Alpine Ski Team will be officially named and introduced during the Nature Valley First Tracks celebration in Vail on Thursday, Nov. 15. Following a 5 p.m. live program, members of the newly named squad, including Olympic gold medalists such as Vail’s Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller, will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs.
“It's always fun for me to meet people who are as passionate about skiing as I am,” Vonn said in a press release. “The U.S. Ski Team naming in Vail is a blast and the community really comes out to support us.”
Vail is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“We’re honored to host the U.S. Ski Team announcement event for the third consecutive year and kick off on the eve of opening day of Vail’s 50th anniversary season,” Vail Mountain Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Jarnot said in a release.
“Having the country’s top alpine ski racing athletes in Vail for early-season training is tremendously inspiring for our community and a clear sign that the winter ski and snowboard season is upon us.”
So is the storm system that will whiten Colorado through the end of the week.
“We’re prepared for this one and ready to battle a lot more snow and ice over the next few months,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Deputy Maintenance Superintendent Dave Miller, who oversees the western portion of the Interstate 70 corridor between Idaho Springs and Vail Pass. “All available resources will be up and operating, keeping the highways open and safe for travel this winter.”
CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks sent an email to Real Aspen to inform local motorists that despite the weather, "crews are not expecting much to settle on Independence Pass ... Our maintenance plow operators are getting a roadway temperature reading of 62 degrees - quite warm for melting any bit of snow that shows up tonight. Crews will be out round the clock taking care of anything that hits the road - from 4 to 6 trucks along the SH 82 corridor at any given time. Unless the weather changes dramatically between now and then, we'll plan for our seasonal closure date of November 7 for Independence Pass."
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