CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. -- It's that time of year again: the snow-making guns are firing in Colorado's high country. Several ski resorts have begun making snow in anticipation of a possible mid-October opening at their facilities.
"Everybody's getting the bug," said John Sellers, Loveland Ski Area's Marketing Director. "Our employees are coming back for orientation, our customers are feeling it, we got a few dustings last week."
This week's cold snap finally dropped temperatures and humidity enough to allow Loveland to activate its snow-making machinery. They're now running their snow guns around the clock. Computers monitor conditions outside, enabling the guns to blast snow at maximum efficiency.
"Very sophisticated, it's like a robot now," said Mark Eldring, a Loveland snowmaker. "As the temperature changes through the night, the guns adjust themselves so the quality snow that you make on the ground stays the same... it's gone leaps and bounds from what it was 10 years ago."
Loveland is hoping for a bounce-back season this year. Last season's promising early snow gave way to a dry winter and spring, which cut into the number of skier visits. Loveland ordinarily gets about 400 inches of snow a year.
"We're optimistic we're going to be a lot closer to that 400 inch mark than we were the year before," Sellers said. "We're optimistic that a long, hot summer equals a long, snowy winter."