It typically comes down to Loveland and Arapahoe Basin to open first in a given year depending on the snow cycle but this year, the snow didn’t favor them enough.
Wolf Creek Ski Area was able to open on Wednesday, October 28 for what they’re calling a “soft opening” that lasted through Sunday, November 1. At that point, Wolf Creek will make a complete and updated schedule that will run through the rest of November.
Thanks to cold temperatures and a modest two-foot snow total from the last storm to barrel through Colorado, Wolf Creek opened Treasure, Bonanza and Nova lifts allowing for 600 acres of mountain left to be explored for the first time this season. As the annual friendly race to be the first ski area open in Colorado continued this season, Wolf Creek was glad to take that title. Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, the vice President of Marketing and Sales at Wolf Creek said, “we were the first to open in 2018-19 and also back in 2011-12 when we were also the first ski area in the country to open!” So, this isn’t a new title for Wolf Creek to hold.
Of course, with an ongoing Pandemic, skiing felt a little different on opening day. The only amenities offered were restrooms. There was no food and beverage options, no ski school, no locker rooms or rental shop. This was just classic and old school skiing. Bring your own stuff and walk straight from your car to the lift and that’s it. Even with a lack of amenities, Rosanne said that “the snow was fantastic, and the crowd was mellow.” It was also mentioned that as Wolf Creek opens more amenities, more COVID protocols would be in place. “Our second phase is still being reviewed by the Silver Thread Health District,” says Rosanne but you can expect to wear masks and be as socially distant as possible. Only one person is allowed on the chairlift at a time, unless you are with your immediate family, and all amenities will remain closed until phase 2 is approved.
Loveland Ski Area is set to be one of the next ski areas to open. Which, it typically comes down to Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in a given year depending on the snow cycle but this year, the snow didn’t favor them enough. John Sellers, Loveland’s Marketing and Communications Director, said that “Loveland plans to open as soon as we have an 18-inch base and tree-to-tree coverage on our opening day run.” Sellers also mentioned that he wasn’t worried about waiting till another storm moves in, “our snowmakers should be able to get us to opening day on their own.” Which makes it seem like it could be coming very soon and hopefully it does! Loveland’s latest opening in the last 35 years happened on November 10 which is creeping closer and closer.
Loveland is intrigued by how Wolf Creek is operating with its COVID protocols but ultimately, ski area protocols are guided by local public health offices and then eventually approved by the state. As of now, Loveland is preparing to not have a reservation system. You will have to purchase daily lift tickets ahead of time, and much like Wolf Creek, you won’t be able to ride any chairlifts with people outside of your family. Additionally, face and hand coverings will be required and on-mountain warming huts will be closed this winter.
Overall, even with an ongoing Pandemic, ski season in Colorado looks to be ago!