When I woke up this morning, it was an ordinary day. From my window, I could see that it was another cloudless bluebird-skies kind of day in Denver. I proceeded to check my phone for any messages I may have missed while I was sleeping.
“SUNDAY RIVER IS MAKING SNOW!”
“CHECK THE NEWS! SNOW IN THE ROCKIES!” ”
“SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!”
“WINTER IS COMING!”
I jumped out of bed and checked my computer. Sure enough, social networks were exclaiming the first signs of winter were hitting the slopes as I dozed. In the spirit of winter, I began to long for my skis. I considered taking them out of the closet where they were hibernating, but knew it would just make me anxious and there was not even close to enough snow to get my butt to the mountains. So I began to wonder, when will it be time for me to unearth my skis and where will I be heading when I do? Who will be the first to crank on the lifts and get the season started?
For mountain resorts, this is a big question. How early can they get skiers and boarders on the slopes so that they can be the honorary first mountain open of the 2011-2012 season?
There are of course the usual early birds, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, of Colorado. With their high elevations and ability to be skied through July, it is no wonder that they would be leading the pack most years.
Last year, however, an East Coast underdog pulled through for the win. Sunday River in Newry, Maine opened on October 24th, beating out the competition for the first time ever. Obviously, since they are already blowing snow on T2, they are in it to win it once again this year. But can they compete with the man-made snow falling in the West?
The first mountain open is a surprise every year. There is a great possibility that another East Coaster could be the biggest contender this year, or perhaps a more traditional West Coaster. Whichever the case, I am excited to see what happens in the coming weeks. Being from the East but spending most of the school year out West, I have the best of both worlds. Whoever opens first, I will be skiing as soon as I can and I hope you all can do the same!