Friday, October 7, 2011

Wolf Creek edges Arapahoe Basin in a Snow Battle

Arapahoe Basin's guns signal winter skiing full-steam ahead.
Some people are running marathons this weekend, sweating it out in cities--namely Chicago--that are finally seeing their Indian Summer. Others are racing at the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where it's always summer. But somewhere, somewhere, it's not 80 degrees and sunny--and for once, it's in just the right spot: ski country. Because while triathletes and runners compete in their A races, skiers can hit the slopes, or start to think winter at some of them.

It's all thanks to a western storm that dropped fluffy white snow instead of rain, and whose path basically ran through ski country. Snowboard Magazine showcases who's seen a dusting--or more since you can't really call 12 inches at Sierra-at-Tahoe a smattering of snow (well maybe you can in Tahoe)--in the last few days. But what its preview of La NiƱa round two doesn't tell you is something that could easily be surmised from the shots: that the ski season is beyond belief close to starting. Here's why:
Arapahoe Basin turns on its snowmaking machines.
  • Wolf Creek Ski Area in Colorado. They've seen so much snow that they're opening their terrain on Saturday, October 8, for a weekend of skiing (and at $33 a lift ticket). Oh yes, time to start waxing.
  • You know that battle between Loveland and Arapahoe Basin to be the first ski resort in Colorado and North America to open for the season? They're not the only two in the snow-making game. A-Basin turned on their snowguns at 4 p.m. October 6, but can they beat Wolf Creek? From the sound of The Basin 411, A-Basin will be making snow through the weekend before opening. 
  • What about Maine's Sunday River, also rumored to be gunning for an early start? Their guns were blazing amid the fall colors, hear them roar.
Only the next 24 hours will tell. Wolf Creek can taste victory dance, but can A-Basin open overnight? Anything's possible in snow wars, right? You can't help but ask if you're yearning for turning.

Photo credit Kimberly Trembearth.

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