What to expect in the 2018-19 winter
October has ended and ski season is upon us. Seriously, ski resorts are opening early. Arapahoe Basin opened a few weeks ago, Breckenridge opened Nov. 5, and Vail’s opening day was Nov. 16 with 500 acres of skiable terrain.
The back range is feeling the snow fall with Silverton Mountain getting well over 200% of the snow they got last time this year. The whole range is coated in an inviting white blanket.
Last year was disappointing. There isn’t much to say except I was cutting up my Atomic Centuries on a groomed run, mid-season. Yikes.
This year is El Niño, which means it’s a wet year; snow is expected to be plentiful and consistent. Last year was La Niña, a dry year, which explains the spotty conditions.
I skied Arapahoe Basin last weekend, and although only a few lifts were open, every run was soft. Even with the crowds of weekend day-trip southern Coloradans!
I recommend Loveland Pass if you’re looking for some backcountry tracks. It’s easy to get to, there are a variety of trails, and guaranteed new lines every run. If you are an in-bounds person, Breckenridge is a local favorite. Specifically Peak 8, which offers a variety of terrain and levels.
Because the season is looking so strong, pass prices are going up. An ‘Epic Local Pass’ is $709 which includes unlimited days in Keystone, Breckenridge, and Arapahoe Basin to name a few. New this year, the pass also includes unlimited access at Crested Butte, Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Stevens Pass. Plus 10 days at destination resorts such as Vail and Beaver Creek.
A day trip in Breckenridge is around $90 for early season weekends. Keystone is a bit cheaper. But for the most part, cheaper passes correlate to crappier runs if you’re a more advanced skier.
Predicting lift lines is hard to do this early. Although the snow is absolute magic, the prices of lift tickets may have you looking for coupons. These prices will deter quite a few Coloradans; however, the snow is sure to pull crowds. Considering this, Saturday waits for base lifts shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes during the 10 a.m. rush.
So take a trip. Whether it’s just a day or the whole weekend, I promise it’ll be worth it. World class mountains are only a drive away. Take that drive.
Noelle Harff, Social Media Editor