It's less than a month to the first opening day!

With snow falling in the higher elevations and the white stuff visible on top of the Grand Mesa it's no surprise ski resorts are making their anticipated opening day announcements. Reports say snowmaking machines are already humming at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas.

This year brings lots of excitement. After a disappointing 2017-18 season that saw record low snowfalls, hope is high for this year and that it will make up for last season's dip in skier visits. There's anticipation for increased snowfall due in part to the predicted El Niño. The latest information from NOAA says "we’re still expecting El Niño conditions to arrive later this fall (50-55% chance). By winter, the chance of El Niño conditions increases to about 65-70%."

The earliest opening day honor goes to Wolf Creek. They plan to be up and running on Friday, November 2ed. They plan to have their 10th lift in operation for the start of the season.

Less than two weeks later Winter Park will fire up the lifts on Wednesday, November 14th. Their latest attraction will replace the Zephyr Express. This aging lift in action since 1990 was recently upgraded to a 10-person gondola.

Just off I-70 and the next scheduled opening date goes to Copper Mountain. They plan to fire things up on Friday, November 16th. They've upgraded a couple of lifts for this year too. The American Flyer and American Eagle will be replacements for the old lifts installed in the 1980s. The high-speed, six-person Flyer will have pull-down hatches and plexiglass face protection. The new Eagle is a six-person lift with the resort’s first gondola-type cabins.

Credit: The Gazette