Grab those skis and boards and head for the hills. Right Now. [R20R, Arapahoe Basin] and [R220R, Loveland Ski Area] on Colorado's Front Range both swing their lifts into action for the season Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8:30 a.m.

"Yes, we mean for the season," A-Basin's Leigh Hierholzer told "Once we open, we will stay open. No matter what. Come on up and help us welcome the '08-09 season." Weather reports are favorable for continued snowmaking in the Rockies.

The annual race to be the first in the nation to open has ended in a literal dead heat (A-Basin won the past two seasons). Both ski areas open at 8:30 a.m. and both will have tree-to-tree skiing and riding on 18 inches of snow.

A-Basin will open the intermediate-rated High Noon run and some features in the High Divide Terrain Park. Beginners beware: Hold your horses for a bit. Lift tickets are $49 for adults; $44 for youth 15-19; and $25 for kids 6-14 (shhh, you're supposed to be in school). Repair and tuning shops, rentals, food and beverage also will be open.

Loveland's Franceska Magaraci said three runs are ready for skiers and snowboarders, including Mambo, Catwalk, and Homerun for a total of 1,000 vertical feet. Lift tickets are $44, and $21 for kids over six. Little folks are free.

Magaraci said Loveland plans to remain open for the duration, too.

What It Means: Game on in the Rockies. Check for daily snow reports and you'll see the progress as more terrain becomes available across the mountains and other ski areas crank up their lifts. Forget all the woes of the world. It's ski season. Be happy.