Summit County ski areas plan additional terrain openings ahead of holiday weekend
Open terrain headed into Christmas is similar to last year
As crowds stream into Summit County for the Christmas holiday, there is the promise of snow in the forecast.
But the area as a whole is still behind where it should be in terms of snowfall, according to the National Weather Service almanac. And the Natural Resources Conservation Service puts snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin, where Summit is located, at 72% of median.
The weather station in Dillon typically sees around 11.1 inches of snow in the month of December but has gotten only 4 inches so far with a little over a week left in the month.
Despite the minimal amount of snowfall, the majority of Summit County ski resorts are not far behind where they were this time last year in terms of open terrain and accumulated snowfall.
Copper Mountain Resort has 72 of 155 trails and 15 of 23 lifts open with a 29-inch base. At the same time last year, Copper had 70 of 152 trails and 17 lifts open with a 22-inch base.
Copper will start allowing uphill access beginning Thursday, Dec. 23. Access will start on Route 1 and will go to Solitude with additional uphill trails being opened up soon.
Keystone Resort is behind where it was at this time last year with only 19 of its 130 trails open, which is 14% of available terrain. During the week of Christmas last year, Keystone had 51 trails and 20 of 21 lifts open. This year, Keystone has 16 of its lifts up and running.
In terms of snow, Keystone currently has an 18-inch base while last year it had 25 inches. Keystone has seen a total of 48 inches of snow as of Dec. 22 compared with 75 inches by this time last year.
Loryn Roberson — who is a spokesperson for Vail Resorts, which owns Keystone and Breckenridge Ski Resort — said both mountains are not concerned when it comes to snow. Both areas have recently had great conditions for snowmaking and have been turning out machine-made snow at every opportunity, she said.
“There is no correlation between early season conditions and seasonlong snowfall and conditions,” Roberson wrote in an email. “We’ve had years with bountiful early snow and others where winter is a little slow to arrive, but it ends up being a banner year.”
Keystone is aiming to open Mozart trail ahead of the holiday weekend in order to allow access from Dercum to North Peak. After that, the terrain team at Keystone will work toward opening the Elk Run trail on the Outback.
Breckenridge, on the other hand, is seeing similar terrain and snow trends compared to this time last year. Breckenridge has more lifts open than last year with 26 of 35 lifts open compared to 18 of 34 last year.
In terms of trails, Breckenridge has about the same percentage of trails accessible as this time last year with 38 of 187 open compared to 45 of 199 last year.
Breckenridge currently has a 22-inch base, just 3 inches shy of where it was at this time in 2020. Breckenridge is also within an inch of the total amount of snow it has seen this season (73 inches) compared with last year (74 inches).
According to Roberson, Breckenridge will be opening the new Freedom SuperChair on Christmas Day along with the Angel’s Rest trail.
“We’ll be moving snowmaking over to Peak 10 soon as we get ready to start wrapping up snowmaking operations for the year, and we also have eyes on Peak 6 and the T-Bar in the near future,” Roberson said. “The latter will all depend on Mother Nature and what we see this weekend, but those areas of the mountain shouldn’t be too far off given the forecast.”
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is also seeing similar numbers to last year. It has five of nine lifts and 18 of 145 runs open. Last year, it had the same amount of lifts running and 22 runs open. A-Basin has a base depth of 29 inches, which is 6 inches ahead of where it was at this time last year.
At Loveland Ski Area, just over the Continental Divide from Summit County, five of the 10 lifts are currently open compared to six out of 10 lifts being open last year. Loveland currently has three more trails open with 19 of 64 trails as compared to 16 the same week of December 2020.
Loveland has seen 79 inches of total snow this year while the area had seen 59 inches a year ago. It also has about the same base, with 22 inches compared to 25 last year.
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