Last updated: 03:53 PM ET, Tue October 27 2015

Winter Weather Arrives in Colorado, Skiers Rejoice

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | October 27, 2015

Winter Weather Arrives in Colorado, Skiers Rejoice

PHOTO: Snow blankets Breckenridge. (Photo by Frazer Humes, courtesy Breckenridge)

It’s only October, but snow in Colorado has winter sports enthusiasts reaching for their skis and boards. Four major resorts have received up to a foot of snow and are expected to receive more this week in addition to cold weather, meaning the beginning of the 2015-2016 winter season is right around the corner. The chilly temperatures also mean that resorts can begin the snowmaking process, leading to early November opening days.

“Winter weather has arrived in Colorado, and the team at Keystone is busy getting ready for opening day on Friday, Nov. 6,” said Mike Goar, vice president and chief operating officer of Keystone Resort. “Snow storms are in the forecast and snowmaking preparations are under way, creating a lot of excitement for the start to the 2015-2016 ski season.”

Vail Mountain has begun snow-making as well and the resort’s opening day is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20.  Opening day for Breckenridge is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13; Beaver Creek’s opening day is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25. 

While El Nino is predicted to dump heavy rain and snow throughout California, its effect on Colorado’s ski season remains unpredictable, according to meteorologist Joel Gratz.

“El Nino will affect snowfall across the United States, but the relationship between El Nino and snow totals in Vail is not clear cut,” said Gratz. “Looking at historical data and forecasts from long-range computer models, I expect about average snowfall for the season. Also, the last two winters with strong El Ninos showed a tendency for the heaviest snow to fall early (November) and late (February through April), so keep an eye on early and late-season conditions.”

Early-Season Incentives

Those ready to hit the slopes can take advantage of a few early-season incentives such as reduced lodging and discounted passes.

The Epic Local Pass allows users access to a number of Vail Resorts. At Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, they can ski or ride without restrictions. Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood resorts offer limited restrictions and users have access to a total of 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek with restrictions over the holidays. The price of the pass is $619 and children ages 5-12 pay $319.

The Summit Value Pass is ideal for those who just want to hit the slopes of Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. It’s $519 for adults and $299 for children ages 5-12. It features unlimited skiing or riding and pays for itself in just over three days.

No need to wait in those long ticket lines any longer. Lift tickets for Vail Resorts ski areas in Colorado are now in the form of the Epic Day card, a pass that is valid at its four Colorado resorts. The passes can be purchased online and used for the season by just adding days. Adult day tickets start at $100; a child pass begins at $69; and seniors pay $90.

Save on Lodging

The early bird gets the discounts when it comes to booking in Vail. Guests who reserve their lodging accommodations by opening day will receive up to 30 percent savings. Families can head to Keystone with its ski-in, ski-out lodging at the foot of Breck’s famed Peak 8 or visitors can choose to stay in the heart of Vail and Beaver Creek. Vail Resorts’ website provides customizable lodging options at each of its properties as well as mountain conditions, resort guides, planning tips, deals and discounts.

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