Denver, Colorado—Mid-winter conditions arrived early in Colorado allowing Loveland Ski Area, situated atop the Continental Divide in central Colorado, to announce they will open for the 2005-06 ski season on Friday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m. Loveland will be the first resort in North America to open for the sixth year in a row.

“Winter has arrived in Colorado and it is time to go skiing, said Rob Perlman, President & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA). “First chair is at 9 a.m. on Friday and I hope to see everyone there.

The latest snowstorm, which came to Colorado from the north and missed the entire western United States, brought over two feet of snow to areas in the Colorado high country. It dumped nearly a foot and a half on Loveland Ski Area, intensifying the race between two Colorado resorts, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin, to see which would open first.

“The recent push from Mother Nature in combination with our snowmaking efforts has enabled us to triumph over Arapahoe Basin to be the official host of North America’s Opening Day, said John Sellers, Loveland Ski Area Marketing Director. “We’ll bask in the glory of these coveted bragging rights for the entire 2005-06 season.

Arapahoe Basin was a tough contender in the race to open. They reported three-foot snow drifts at the base of the mountain earlier this week and are still digging out from the storm. Arapahoe Basin is scheduled to open on Friday, Oct. 21 but could open earlier if conditions warrant.

In the San Juan Mountains, some Silverton Mountain employees got an early start on the ski season when they took advantage of the Sunday’s storm with some turns in the fresh powder.

On Friday, Loveland will open with one 1,000 vertical foot top-to-bottom groomed run. The minimum snow base will vary between 18 and 21 inches. In addition, a small terrain park will be set up near the base of the mountain for eager jibbers.

“It’s such an honor to host North America’s Opening Day and we will do it in style with a party atmosphere everywhere, said Sellers. “We’ll have free donuts, live music, and prizes for first-day enthusiasts.

For snow conditions and other CSCUSA resorts opening dates, visit coloradoski.com or call 303/825-SNOW.

Colorado Ski Country USA is a not-for-profit trade association representing Colorado’s 25 ski and snowboard resorts. Information about the organization and its members can be found at www.coloradoski.com.