Today is August 17th, 2021 and we’re just a couple months away from the beginning of the Winter ’21-’22 season!
I thought it would be fun to start a poll to see if you, our readers, could correctly predict which ski resort/area will open first this season. The usual suspects are listed below with a little description/background information about their opening dates in previous seasons.
Vote once or a million times, I honestly don’t care. I’m just hoping this stupid little poll gets your adrenaline pumping for ski season. It’s right around the corner!
A-Basin is always the favorite to open first each season. The ski area is consistently one of the first, and famously opened hours before Keystone back in 2019 to claim the title.
A-Basin’s high elevation allows the area to blow snow early in the season, and even pick up a few natural snow showers as early as September or October.
Base Elevation: 10,520′
Summit Elevation: 13,050′
Earliest Opening: 10/9/2009
Loveland is located just on the other side of Loveland Pass from Arapahoe Basin, and shares similar elevations to its neighbor. It’s not uncommon for Loveland to start blowing snow in early October and get the lifts spinning by the middle of the month.
Loveland usually falls behind Arapahoe Basin by a few days or even a week, but could this be the year they reestablish their reign as the first resort to open in North America? We’ll have to wait and see…
Base Elevation: 10,800′
Summit Elevation: 13,010′
Earliest Opening: 9/30/1951
Keystone is somewhat of a newcomer in the race to be first to open. The resort typically opens earlier than most across the country, but it seems like Vail Resorts has ramped up the resort’s snowmaking efforts in order to compete with Arapahoe Basin and Loveland.
As mentioned before, Arapahoe Basin trolled Keystone by spinning lifts for a few hours on the afternoon before Keystone’s announced opening date back in 2019. Being the first to open can get a little bit petty from time to time…
Base Elevation: 9,280′
Summit Elevation: 12,408′
Earliest Opening: 10/12/19 (Earliest since 1995, opening date in 1995 N/A)
Trollhaugen might be a dark horse in this year’s race to open first. The ski area capitalized from a freak early snow storm and consistent cold temps last October to get lifts spinning.
Will they repeat as one of the first ski areas to open? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Earliest Opening: 10/25/2020
Wild Mountain has established itself as an annual contender in the race to open first. The small ski area near Minneapolis was the first ski area to open last season, and don’t be surprised if they take the title again this year.
The hill’s robust snowmaking system and northern geological disposition help them to consistently open in late-October or early-November.
Earliest Opening: 10/7/2012
Mount Rose doesn’t normally compete with the likes of A-Basin and Loveland to open first, but they are consistently the first ski area in the Tahoe area to spin lifts.
This is thanks to a relatively high base elevation for the region, and a dedication to get lifts spinning as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe Mount Rose will shock us all and become the first resort to open!
Base Elevation: 8,260′
Summit Elevation: 9,700′
Earliest Opening: 10/19/2018
Wolf Creek is Colorado’s snowiest ski area averaging over 400″ of snow annually, and they’re no stranger to powder in October.
Don’t be surprised if the snow gods bless Wolf Creek with an early-season dump and the lifts start spinning. It happened back in 2019!
Base Elevation: 10,300′
Summit Elevation: 11,904′
Earliest Opening: N/A (early to mid-October)
The Beast of The East is one of New England’s most famous ski resorts, and also claims the title for the longest season in the east. This is due to the resort’s impressive snowmaking capabilities.
Killington starts blowing snow the second it’s physically possible, and keeps blowing all year so skiers and snowboarders can enjoy turns on Superstar until every last drop melts. Will this be the year that Killington is the first ski resort in the entire country to open? Maybe… just maybe…
Base Elevation: 1,165′
Summit Elevation: 4,241′
Snowmaking: Hell yes.
Earliest Opening: 10/1/1997
Featured Image Courtesy: Arapahoe Basin Opening Day 2017, (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)