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Saturday October 12, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado kicks off the 2019/20 season after pipping Keystone to the post in surprise early opening. UPDATED

The resort has a decent base made up of natural snow with a little help from the man-made variety.

At 3.30pm on Friday the Black Mountain Express lift took skiers to the intermediate High Noon trail with an 18-inch base of packed powder.

So, why did the resort open mid-afternoon on Friday?

It was a bit of local rivalry.

The neighbouring resort of Keystone had announced it would be firing up its lifts on Saturday morning.

"Keystone will open Sat, Oct 12 for our earliest opening in 20+ years! We're positioned to be the first ski resort in North America to open for the 19-20 season," said Keystone on social media.

So at 1.45pm on Friday Arapahoe Basin announced it would be opening later that day.

Thus denying the prize to Keystone of being the first resort in the USA to open.

The area is open across the weekend and A-Basin has the longest season in Colorado, open from mid-October to early June, often later.

The resort is on the Ikon Pass.

Last season the ski area opened October 19, 2018 and continued through to July 4, 2019.

A-Basin was only closed for 99 days, the shortest amount of time in its history.

"We did this because the snow is really good, our people are anxious and we are ready to go. We thought it would be fun," said  the Arapahoe Basin CEO, Alan Henceroth.

Keystone then followed suit on Saturday with hundreds turning out for its earliest opening in 20 years.

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Opening Day is a highlight of the early ski season, a title often held by either Arapahoe Basin or Loveland Ski Area.

Both resorts are perched atop the Continental Divide, which allows for one of the longest ski seasons in the country.

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"October snowfall is not only exciting for our ski areas, but a reminder to both experienced skiers and riders and those that may be new to the sport that the 2019-20 winter season is here," said the Colorado Ski County President, Melanie Mills.

"The recent snowfall has been helpful, but we can't forget the countless hours of labor and logistics that our snowmakers, groomers and operations crews have undertaken over the past weeks.

"We are looking forward to welcoming guests from locations worldwide and of all ability levels after a summer and fall of significant investment across Colorado at ski areas of all sizes."

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So, what about the opening dates for the other ski resorts in Colorado?

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Opening Day at A-BasinOpening Day at A-Basin

Opening Day at A-BasinOpening Day at A-Basin

Opening Day at A-BasinOpening Day at A-Basin

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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