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A collection of Scary Skiers in Buena Vista. Photo by Tara Flanagan.

While we in the Arkansas River Valley have learned to wait for the “real snow” opening day of our much-loved Monarch Mountain, that doesn’t mean that some die-hard skiers (like those who created the scary skiers above) aren’t  impatient. Ski resorts along the I-70 corridor regularly fight to be the first to claim the “First to Open” badge. And this year at least one of them says it will manage to open in time for Halloween’s “Scary Skiers”.

It appears that Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will claim that right in Colorado this year. It announced this morning that it will open for the 2023-24 season on Sunday, Oct. 29. Opening day will offer skiers and riders mid-mountain to base skiing on High Noon via the Black Mountain Express. It should be noted that there will be no beginner slopes on opening day; High Noon is an intermediate and above skier experience.

The resort made that announcement after getting light snow last night on top of its snow-making capabilities. With a strong winter storm coming in this weekend fresh snow is expected to solidify (no pun intended) its base. While the storm is expected to blanket the I-70 corridor, weather reports for the northern half of Chaffee County give us a 40 percent chance of snow on Saturday, rising to 50 percent on Sunday.

The Summit Daily noted that while A-Basin was first in Colorado, this year a small East Coast ski resort, Ski Ward in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts was the first to open in North America. It reported that A-Basin lifts “will spin from 8:30 a.m. to 4 :00 p.m. on weekends and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.”

Weather willing, that is.