Loveland opens on Friday. Here’s what we know about Colorado’s ski season ahead

A week of 70-degree weather in Denver hasn’t put the damper on an early ski season.

Sweet corduroy snow ahead of Loveland Ski Area's 2017 opening. (Courtesy Loveland Ski Area)
Sweet corduroy snow ahead of Loveland Ski Area's 2017 opening. (Courtesy Loveland Ski Area)
Sweet corduroy snow ahead of Loveland Ski Area’s 2017 opening. (Courtesy Loveland Ski Area)

A week of 70-degree weather in Denver hasn’t put the damper on an early ski season. Loveland Ski Area plans to open for the season this Friday, Oct. 20.

A dump of snow early in October helped Araphoe Basin and Loveland get ahead. Loveland will open with one lift (Lift 1, to be specific) and one top-to-bottom run. They’re promising an 18-inch base and tree-to-tree coverage.

This is about 20 days earlier than Loveland’s opening last season. Early-season tickets are $61 for adults and $29 for kids 6 to 14.

Just be aware: Opening day at A-Basin looked absolutely bananas busy, at least at peak hours.

How’s the season looking?

We asked Jeff Lukas, a researcher at Western Water Assessment, about what signs we’re seeing about the ski season ahead. WWA maintains an excellent climate dashboard and are all-around experts on this stuff.

In short: Still not much, but there are some clues to parse.

“I’m tempted to say that there are never any ‘decent signals’ for a winter season in Colorado — just frustratingly small tilts in the odds for wetter or drier than normal,” he wrote in an email.

The biggest influence we’re seeing for this winter so far is the possibility that La Niña will be in effect this year, “but the forecast models indicate that if we do have a La Niña event this winter, it’s likely to be weak and short-lived.”

If the pattern does develop and persist, it “tends to be wetter than normal during the midwinter months (Dec-Jan-Feb), but a little drier in the fall (Sep-Oct-Nov), and spring (Mar-Apr-May). But these are tendencies, not destiny,” Lukas wrote.

New three-month seasonal forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are looking pretty neutral for Colorado, showing little tilt in either direction.

The NOAA models do show a slightly dryer tilt for spring for the southern third of the state, Lukas added.

“But for practical purposes, it’s scarcely better than flipping a coin for wetter/drier,” he wrote.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.