CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Co. — As the weather gets colder, a competition is heating up in Colorado’s mountains. Resorts compete each year to try and be the first to open the slopes.
“The race to open here in Colorado is a pretty important one,” said Duncan Maxwell with Loveland Ski Area.
The ski industry is happy the weather has taken a turn toward winter this week. Loveland recorded 7 inches of new snow Thursday morning.
“We had some very significant heavy snowfall [Thursday] morning. About an inch an hour,” Maxwell described, “Big, fat flakes. Heavy snow. Just what we’re looking for to get that first blanket on the mountain.
Thursday’s snow is perfect to play in, but is not enough to ski in.
“We like to have an 18 inch base with side to side coverage top to bottom,” said Maxwell.
That is where a few snow-making experts come in handy. Loveland contracts snow makers from New Zealand. They have experience making snow in some of the premier ski spots in the world, including Sochi and Whistler. The group says it knows the recipe for perfect snow.
“A lot of power, a lot of water and a lot of manpower,” said snow-maker Robert McSkimming.
They pump water through 36 snow guns throughout Loveland Ski Area. They have only been running since Wednesday night.
“Because it’s been so warm the last 3 weeks we haven’t had a chance,” McSkimming said.
Even with the recent snowfall, Mother Nature still isn’t cooperating.
“This weather is really horrible for making snow,” McSkimming said, “It’s just too much moisture, too much humidity in the air.”
Loveland says it will keep at it though, to try and steal opening day bragging rights away from the guys on the other side of the mountain.
“We wish them luck and we’re hoping to do the same,” Maxwell said.
The first slopes will likely be open by the end of the month or the first week of November. It just depends on the weather.