DENVER (KDVR) — With the warmer weather, the end of ski season is inevitable here in Colorado, but that’s how it’s suppose to be as melting High Country meadows give way to the first flowers of June and July up on the alpine tundra. Mountain goats start molting and RV’s start motoring to the upper reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Recent heavy snows and more ahead for the elevations over 8,000 feet set to fall during Mother’s Day weekend will slow the inevitable closing of some of the longest-open ski areas in Colorado, allowing for decent spring skiing conditions for weeks to come. (But, don’t forget your sunscreen as the UV index is extreme on those snow-covered montane inclines.)
Many resorts have closed for the season despite perfectly fine terrain, not necessarily due to weather but instead to contracts with the government, as they share federal lands. Control reverts at a certain date (usually early to mid-April) regardless of how healthy ski conditions remain. But a few are exempt as they operate autonomously and have been known to keep their lifts running until the Fourth of July!
Among those with the longest seasons? Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski area. Situated along the wind-swept Great Divide, these legendary spots boast some of the longest seasons in the country. Loveland’s earliest, “first run” happened on Sept. 30, 1951! A-Basin has been known to routinely stay open through June and sometimes even as late as August! In 1995, the last lift operated until the 10th of that summer month! The air is thin but the snow is deep.
This season, Loveland will close this weekend, on May 9 and A-Basin will close on June 6 (estimated). Winter Park also closes May 9 this year, but remains one of only four Colorado ski areas still up and running as of this publishing. Breckenridge plans to close on May 31. Here’s a list of regional ski areas opened and closed.
With things getting slowly back to normal after the onset of the pandemic, hopefully we can all return to the slopes next season and enjoy plenty of cold snow and warm memories!