The Colorado 2010-11 ski season should kicks off this Saturday - or sooner
Snowmaking is currently under way at high altitude resorts in the US with Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain, all among the world's 10 highest ski areas, currently pumping snow on to the slopes.
The opening date situation is changing hourly, with Loveland reported to be grooming its slopes on Monday, but Copper Mountain has confirmed it plans to open this Saturday, October 23rd.
"We are pumped and ready at Copper to begin Fall Race Camps, while the competition continues to scramble for promising weather reports," says JP Chevalier, Copper's Director of Skier Services. He also adds that "race camps will begin on Saturday, October 23 with plenty of snow, due to our advantageous elevation, exposures, and our advanced snowmaking systems. Our Mountain ops team is putting the finishing touches on the training venues, so as to deliver the highest quality snow surface and needed depth to cover the trail from top to bottom and side to side."
However Copper's slopes will initially be open to those participating in team training camps only, not yet the general skiing and boarding public,
""We're thrilled to once again host the U.S. Ski Team, including many of the elite members, for Super G and Downhill training," said Jeff White, Race Department Manager at Copper. Jeff continues, "The PSIA [Professional Ski Instructors of America] National Ski and Snowboard Educational Teams continue to elect Copper Mountain as their early season training venue. "
Last season alone Copper hosted more than 100 different and separate teams, including the Australian Disabled Ski Team, the Finnih Ski Team, the Polish Snowboard Team, The Canadian National Snowboard Team, The U.S. Men's and Women's Ski Team and America's Snowboard Team.
Colorado's resorts are running about two weeks behind last year's opening date and are building their bases with snowmaking in most cases. They currently have bases of up to 18 inches (45cm) made up mostly of machine made snow.
There has already been some skiing in Colorado, with staff at the small Silverton Mountain area reportedly getting first tracks a few weeks ago on natural snow, and elsewhere in the US, Timberline, the all year ski area in Oregon, is currently open at weekends with a 28 inch (70cm) base.
Things are looking good on the East Coast too. Whiteface in New York State has reported 30cm (a foot) of fresh snow on its summit following reports that Sunday River in Maine has begun snowmaking.