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The Race is On

Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin are both revving up to be the first ski area in the country to open first.

"We have a friendly rivalry, said Leigh Hierholzer, the Director of Marketing, Sales, and Communications for A-Basin. "Last year we opened a week later than they did, the year before we opened a day later.

Both mountains hope to open in mid-October, according to Hierholzer and Kathryn Johnson, Communications and Marketing Manager for Loveland. Last season Loveland opened on October 14, and A-Basin opened on October 23.

"Even though we are just a few miles apart, the way the crow flies, our weather systems are different, Hierholzer said, noting that the mountains are on opposite sides of the Continental Divide.

"We definitely get an advantage being that we are right on top of the divide, and we get snow from storms that come from both directions, Johnson said. "The reason it is a rivalry is because we are both pretty equal when it comes to the amount of snow that we are able to make, Johnson said.

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The mountains are relying on artificial snow to help nature frost the mountain and get things going. Loveland brings a snowmaking contractor all the way from New Zealand to help.

"Snowmaking at Loveland is solely for the purpose of opening early and providing a good base, says Mark Abrahamson, Snowmaking and Trail Maintenance Manager. "We know people are ready to ski, and we want to give them what they want. Once we open the runs we rely on the natural snow to take over.

A-Basin uses snow guns as well. This is the fourth year they have been blowing snow and are using 14 guns now. They are currently working on High Noon, the first run to open every year at the resort.

Both resorts provide updates on their websites to let eager skiers in on the opening day progress.

Loveland has snow updates at skiloveland.com/snowmaking. Trail maps with pictures of snowmaking, gun placement, web cams and forecasts are available there.

A-Basin posts how much snow they are getting on arapahoebasin.com and will post the official opening day.

"We know 48 hours before we actually open, Hierholzer said.

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