Fresh snow greets Copper, Keystone ski areas

Storms get Copper, Keystone ready for opening day Friday

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When Copper Mountain opens Friday, it could have top-to-bottom terrain.

That is, if weather cooperates.

“We’re hoping for another good night of snowmaking” to open Excelerator lift and Ptarmigan trail, spokesman David Roth said. Some natural snow could help the cause, but because snowmaking depends on specific conditions, it also could hurt it.

Regardless, the American Eagle lift will be open with access to Rhapsody and Main Vein. The newly branded Woodward at Copper Bouncer Park will be open on Lower Bouncer, at the Center Village base. The free Easy Rider magic carpet also will be open. It’s all much the same as last year.

Roth said activities for Copper’s opening day will be toned down this year because history hasn’t shown festivities are as much of a draw as the simple fact of the mountain opening with skiable terrain. There will be giveaways all day, and “The Art of Flight” movie plays at 6 p.m. Friday at the Copper Conference Center. Roth added that money saved at the start of the season will be used to provide “better bang for the buck” later in the season.

“We have new, fun, unique stuff coming up this season,” Roth said.

Weather predictions don’t show the same potential for last year’s opening day. Though two storms are on the way, observers don’t anticipate the 35 inches that fell at Copper last year, or the 32 inches reported by Keystone on its 2010 opening day. Thursday was clear, with more snow forecast for the weekend, which may mean it’s snowing on opening day, but those on the first chair may not have fresh tracks.

Nonetheless, conditions with fresh snow falling the week of opening day should be ideal, officials say.

Keystone is ready to roll out the white carpet to guests Friday with top-to-bottom skiing and riding on Spring Dipper and River Run trails, serviced by the River Run Gondola. Beginners will have two learning areas, one at the top of the mountain and one at the gondola’s mid-station. The mountain’s early-season terrain park also will be open with 25 features accesses by its own chairlift.

Opening day is “Dercum Day” at Keystone, in honor of Keystone’s co-founders Max and Edna Dercum. A special dedication is planned for 8:50 a.m., just prior to the lifts opening. There also will be live music at the base area. Starting at 8 a.m., Keystone workers will again hand out free coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts at River Run.

On Wednesday, Arapahoe Basin opened from top to bottom, taking advantage of the natural snowfall from the week before and snowmaking progress. The additional terrain includes intermediate runs Lenawee Face and Dercum’s Gulch, serviced by the Lenawee Mountain lift.

Snowmakers have now turned their attention to opening Sundance to add some beginner terrain.

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