Not four months after shutting its lifts, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will launch Colorado's ski season yet again, opening the Black Mountain Express chairlift at 9 a.m. Friday.
Skiers and snowboarders will have access to the High Noon trail, an intermediate, groomed run midway up the mountain upon which Mother Nature continues to shower her wintry love. On the heels of a 230-day season that ended June 11, A-Basin enters 2017-18 with high hopes.
"It's looking pretty white around here," spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac said after the Summit County area's announcement Tuesday. "It's a sunny, bluebird day - pretty great conditions to be out on the hill. Ski season is right around the corner."
It looked that way recently at Loveland Ski Area, which began making snow around the same time as A-Basin near the end of September. With promising piles of powder, Loveland looked to reclaim the honor of kicking off the season. The area shared the honor with A-Basin on Oct. 29, 2015, but spokesman John Sellers said that won't be the case Friday.
"Definitely not Friday," he said. "Anything beyond that is still a possibility."
So for a fifth time in six years, Coloradans will flock to A-Basin to celebrate winter. Friday will be the ski season's earliest start since 2013, when the basin also opened on Oct. 13.
A couple of thousand skiers and riders, many clad in colorful costumes, filled A-Basin's parking lot early on the morning of Oct. 21 last year. The lines for beer were long by 9 a.m.
"The excitement, the electricity is like no other day," Saia Isaac said. "It's so incredible to see how many people have been waiting for the mountain to get back open."
Lift tickets can be purchased in advance at tickets.arapahoebasin.com or at the mountain on Friday. Full-day tickets for adults (ages 19-69) are $79, for youth (15-18) $67, and for children (6-14) $39.