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US Ski Resorts Open

Wolf Creek is first ski resort out of the blocks in Colorado after recent heavy snow. Last weekend Mt Norquay in Canada opened and now Lake Louise is about to fire up its lifts. The season is underway in North America.

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THURSDAY 29th OCTOBER

“Wolf Creek Ski Area had a great opening day, today, October 28!” the resort said on Wednesday.

“First ski area in Colorado and the U.S. to open for the 2020-2021 ski season! Join us for some early season turns!”

The conditions look absolutely fabulous.

Wolf Creek, Colorado, on opening day – photo Samuel Bricker

Wolf Creek, Colorado on opening day – photo Samuel Bricker

Wolf Creek, Colorado opens – photo Samuel Bricker

It seems that Wolf Creek is not, though, the first ski in the area in the USA to open.

It was pipped to the post by Wild Mountain in Minnesota in the American mid-west.

It opened its rope tow on 19th October and now has at least one of its chairlifts running too.

Wild Mountain, Taylors Falls, Minnesota

And then there was Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wisconsin, also in the mid west.

It has rope tows and three chairlifts and opened for business on Sunday 25th October.

It’s not open every day, though, and the hours are limited.

Trollhaugen ski area, Wisconsin opening day 25 October 2020

Now Lake Louise in the Banff National Park in Canada has announced it, too, is opening today.

” 🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨 We are opening this THURSDAY October 29! Our earliest opening on record!” the resort said on Facebook.

“We’re kicking the season off by opening Glacier Chair, Grizzly Gondola, and 2 magic carpets in the learning area.

“We’ll have a terrain park with 3 rails, 3 boxes and 2 small jumps along with 7 runs and almost 2500 feet of vertical!”

It’s looking pretty good there.

Lake Louise, Canada

Lake Louise has made some changes this season because of coronavirus.

Lake Louise coronavirus information

MONDAY 26th OCTOBER

“The powder is stacking up, 22” and still counting!” the Wolf Creek resort in Colorado on Monday.

Three lifts – Treasure, Bonanza and Nova will  run Wednesday October 28th, through to Sunday November 1st.

Preparations are getting under way.

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

A few lucky people have been up and down before the lifts start turning.

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

The slopes are open from 9am to 4pm.

The resort will then assess the conditions for the rest of November.

It is operating under Covid-19 restrictions.

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

Wolf Creek, image c/o Preston Bass

In many ways it’s old-school skiing.

“Just skiing like the old pioneer days,” said Davey Pitcher from the resort.

“Nice and mellow,” is how he describes it.

“And, you know, people have a good time and be with their families. Then go home and have a beer and toast the first day of the year.”

Restaurants are closed, so people will need to bring their own lunch.

Ski and snowboard rentals are not available.

The ski school remains be shut.

All the amenities and accommodations are closed except for bathrooms, where automated disinfectant are sprayed and cleaning is scheduled for every hour.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment recently released its final guidance for ski areas in the state of Colorado.

“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the state health department.

“We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary.”

  • To sell lift tickets online or by phone
  • To ask guests if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or might have been exposed
  • To limit ski school groups to no more than 10 students
  • To load lifts and gondolas in a way that keeps guests in different groups socially distanced
  • To consider using reservations to limit the number of visitors
  • The guidance also establishes standards for ski areas to allow skiers and snowboarders to isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus.

“Don’t forget your mask!” said Wolf Creek on its Facebook page.

Wolf Creek requires wearing face masks and social distancing in all indoor and outdoor public places.

This includes buildings, in the base area, and riding a lift.

Masks are required outdoors while in the base area and while in ticket and lift lines.

Tickets will not be sold to anyone without a mask or face covering.

“Any guests refusing to follow Colorado State Guidelines guide lines will be asked to leave,” the resort warns.

It appears to have beaten its fellow Colorado resorts of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in opening first for the 2020/21 ski season.

However,  the snow guns are on in both resorts and they might try an early start.

Watch this space…

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, USA

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, USA

Loveland, Colorado, USA

Loveland, Colorado, USA

Mt Norquay near Banff in Canada takes the prize of the first resort to open in North America as it opened some slopes last Saturday.

Mt Norquay, Canada

Mt Norquay, Canada

It is the earliest the resort has been able to open in 95 years.

Recent cold weather weather and heavy snowfall meant the lifts were able to turn on Saturday October 24th,  beating the last record that was set in 2012.

It was also the first ski resort in the country to reopen the runs after the pandemic closed all the ski resorts last March.

Only one chairlift, Cascade, was open along with a magic carpet.

Mt Norquay, Canada

Mt Norquay, Canada

 

Lift tickets had to be pre-booked in advance to meet coronavirus regulations and social distancing was required.

Face masks were compulsory within the lodge, in all lifts queues and while on the lifts.

The resort says that other lifts will open as conditions allow.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

First Chair in Canada! Our earliest season opener ever! #mtnorquay

A post shared by Mt. Norquay (@mtnorquay) on

Mt Norquay, Canada

Mt Norquay, Canada

The nearby Banff resort of Sunshine Village is also preparing to open with an official start date next month.

It too has benefited from the recent snow storms.

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

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