It’s always ski season somewhere, but the continental United States had its own opening day Sunday at a resort in the Colorado high country.
Arapahoe Basin, an hour west of Denver, became the first ski area to fire up its lifts full time after frosty weather allowed it to lay down a base of 18 inches with snow machines. The resort was originally scheduled to open this Friday, according to the Denver Post.
Other resorts are expected to follow suit, including nearby Loveland Ski Area, scheduled to open within the next two weeks.
The arrival of tourist dollars is welcome news in a state recently devastated by 100-year floods.
“Tourism and recreation are some of our most visible and important industries in Colorado, not to mention key economic drivers, and with today’s grand opening we are looking forward to a fun-filled and snowy year on the slopes,” said Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s Mount Hood technically became the first resort to open for business when it cranked up its Palmer Express lift last Friday, but that currently only gives weekend access to a single patch of snow high on the mountain.
Stay tuned for a list of more opening dates.