At long last: Loveland Ski Area to open Thursday

LOVELAND SKI AREA, Colo. — After long delays because of an abnormally warm and dry fall, Loveland Ski Area announced Monday that it will open Thursday for the 2016-17 ski season.

It will mark the latest opening for ski area. Its previous latest opening day was Nov. 6. It opened on Oct. 29 last year.

“The waiting game is finally over,” said Rob Goodell, director of business operations. “The persistent warm weather made things difficult this fall, but our snowmaking team has done an amazing job getting the mountain ready for opening day.”

Lift 1 will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with access to one top-to-bottom run on an 18-inch base.

Catwalk, Mambo and Home Run trails will be open.

“We already have great coverage on most of the run and just have to put the finishing touches on the lower portion of Home Run,” Goodell said. “While we are opening later than we had hoped, our opening day run will provide our guests with the exceptional early season snow they have come to expect at Loveland.”

The ski area will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays. Early-season tickets are $59 for adults and $27 for children 6-14.

Only Arapahoe Basin in Summit County has opened its slopes for the 2016-17 ski season. Keystone Resort was scheduled to open Friday, but it announced last week it had pushed back its opening day to Nov. 11.

Loveland Ski Area annually battles with Arapahoe Basin to be the first in Colorado to open.

Most of the resorts can make snow at night, but the warm conditions during the day make it go away.

“We started making snow in early October,” Dustin Schaefer with Loveland Ski Area said last week. “Then we got that warm streak that made us stop snowmaking operations.”

Besides Keystone, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Copper Mountain are scheduled to open Friday. Winter Park is targeting Nov. 16, Vail is scheduled to open Nov. 18 and Beaver Creek is shooting for Nov. 23.

October 2016 was the fourth-warmest October in Denver on record, according to the National Weather Service. Temperature records go back to 1873. Denver recorded no snow in October for the third consecutive year.

The latest first snow in Denver was Nov. 21, 1934.