It was a fall day perfect for hiking or mountain biking, carving pumpkins or walking the dog.
But we didn’t do any of those things.
We went skiing. (Apologies to my dog.)
Early Season Love
When I tell friends that we spent last Saturday skiing at Arapahoe Basin, their reaction is always the same.
“No way!” they’ll exclaim, inevitably adding, “Why? Isn’t it kind of early?”
Which always cracks me up, because we live in Colorado, the state which often has “first-in-the-nation” ski resort openings.
And, yes, to answer them, it is early. But that’s why we ski.
Because we can.
Why We Ski Early Season
In addition to just being able to, here are three more reasons why ski early season.
Kickstart your ski season. Early season skiing is bonus time. It’s not about logging lots of vert or bragging rights for deep pow. Instead, it’s all about starting your season in a totally relaxed frame of mind.
If the weather cooperates (and it did), it’s like spring skiing in October.
Check out your gear — new and old. If you’ve got new boots, a new board or new skis, early season is a terrific time to test them out. Again, because you’re in bonus time, it doesn’t matter if you have to stop and adjust your boots or if you need to take a break to get comfortable.
New gear or not, skiing in October means you can get your legs back under you and work the kinks out with no pressure. You can ski your old boards and decide whether you really need new gear.
Or, maybe just a tune.
Spoil the kids (and yourself). Our boys suggested skiing on Saturday. Left to our own drudgery-loving devices, my husband and I would have cleaned up the yard or something equally mundane. But as a ski parent, how can you resist when your child looks you in the eye and says, “I want to go skiing.”
You can’t. Because guess what? You want to go skiing, too. So why not indulge?
Arapahoe Basin opened on October 13, with top-to-bottom skiing on October 25th. According to those in the know, this was one of the best early openings in years.
It sure felt that way to us.
From the top, we skied Lenawee Face to Dercum’s Gulch and then had our choice of heading back to the Lenawee lift or skiing to the bottom on High Noon or Ramrod. These runs are all intermediate and while beginner learning area Pika Place is open, there wasn’t an easy way back to the bottom.
For lunch, the mid-mountain Black Mountain Lodge is open and the sundeck was packed. Down at the base, the café was open, although the big-time renovation of the Sixth Alley Bar (soon to be Bar and Grill) is still underway.
As for the snow, it’s groomed man-made, but it was surprisingly soft and was skiing really well on a 18 inch base. With new snow this week, it will be skiing even better come the weekend.
If you’re in the market for lessons, A Basin has an early season lesson program that will save you lots of money. From now until November 23, private lessons are steeply discounted, with a one-hour private for $90 (regularly $185), a half-day private for $170 (regularly $290) and a full-day private for $290 (regularly $460). Up to four people of the same ability can take a private together for an additional $25 per person.
Interested? Phone reservations are required at 888-272-7246.
Other Colorado resorts with pre-Thanksgiving openings are Loveland, which opened on October 17th; Copper Mountain (opening November 1st); Wolf Creek (November 8th); Winter Park (November 13th) and Eldora (November 22nd).
After that, it’s pretty much weekly openings through mid-December for the rest of the state.
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