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A-Basin, Loveland tie for opening day

Published October 13, 2008 at 11:19 p.m.

Snowmaker Robert McSkimming looks over snowmaking while preparing the Loveland Ski Area on Tuesday for Wednesday's opening day.

Photo by Chris Schneider

Snowmaker Robert McSkimming looks over snowmaking while preparing the Loveland Ski Area on Tuesday for Wednesday's opening day.

They say the tie goes to the runner.

But does that hold true in skiing, where two Colorado resorts have been running their snow guns at full throttle this week in the race to be the first ski area in the nation to open?

Arapahoe Basin and Loveland both can lay claim to that title today when the first skiers and snowboarders head downhill on slopes that will be covered mostly with the machine-made white stuff. Both are sporting an 18- inch base.

Over the years, the two ski areas have fostered a friendly rivalry to see who could open first. For the past two years, A-Basin has been the first to open. For the six previous years, Loveland held the title.

This year, A-Basin's marketing department won the title of first- press-release-to-announce-opening-day, which came out Monday. Not to be outdone, Loveland announced Tuesday that they also will be open today.

"It's a friendly competition," said John Sellers, spokesman for Loveland.

"We're more racing against ourselves," he added. "We aren't going to compromise the snow just to be first. Our snowmakers take a lot of pride in the work they do."

Likewise, at A-Basin, spokeswoman Kimberly Trembearth said that crews are just happy to be open for another season.

"It's great to be the first one open, but we can share," she said. "It's great to have two ski areas in the first few weeks of October."

Last year, A-Basin opened Oct. 10, helped in part by more than a foot of natural snowfall. This year, both ski areas have benefitted from cold weather that moved in earlier this month. Loveland crews started making snow Sept. 24, but warm weather forced them to wait until Oct. 4, when temperatures cooled again.

Loveland will open Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun, three linked trails that together make up more than one mile of skiing. A-Basin will open with its intermediate High Noon run and High Divide Terrain Park.

As for who wins a tie, Trembearth said she was not sure.

"I don't know, this is the first tie, so we're all kind of in new territory," she said, before adding with a laugh. "I suppose if you're the first person who gets in the chair lift . . . "

Opening day at a glance

ARAPAHOE BASIN

* Lifts open: Exhibition chair opens at 8:30 this morning.

* Runs open: High Noon and High Divide Terrain Park, intermediate

LOVELAND SKI AREA

* Lifts open: 8:30 this morning

* Runs open: Linked trails Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun

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