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Western ski hills vie to be the first to open this season

Bogus Basin uses snowmaking machines at the beginning of the season
Molly Wampler
Boise State Public Radio
Bogus Basin uses snowmaking machines at the beginning of the season in 2019.

News brief

Ski hills will soon open in the West — but which ones will be first?

Over the last several years, the first two ski hills to open in the West have typically been Arapahoe Basin and Keystone, both west of Denver

But last year, southern Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Areawon the race when it opened on October 16. That was somewhat surprising because it largely relies on natural snow while the other two have far more snow-making capabilities.

So how are things looking?

Rosanne Pitcher works in marketing and sales at Wolf Creek, and said there’s been a fair amount of precipitation.

“We actually have had a very wet fall, and so everything is cooling down and it’s looking really good,” she said.

That ski area also has plans to bring more snow-making onto their mountain. However, others like Arapahoe Basin and Keystone might still have an edge this year — as long as Wolf Creek doesn’t get another well-timed snowstorm.

Meanwhile, some others in the Mountain West will try to open by Halloween, but most aim to fire up the lifts in November.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Madelyn Beck was Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.

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