It was hard to see a frowning face at Arapahoe Basin ski area on October 25 as the Black Mountain Express started up for the 2010-2011 ski season.
"It only happens once a year," a skier said to his friend as he waited in the lift line as the brand new chairlift opened up for the first time.
A-Basin was the third in the country to open for the 2010-2011 ski season, Sunday River in Maine opened first last week and Loveland Ski Area, just a few minutes away from Arapahoe Basin opened on Sunday, Oct. 24. As is tradition for opening day in Summit County, the local radio station KSMT handed out donuts and pumped up eager skiers and riders.
Leigh Hierholzer, PR director, and Alan Henceroth, COO and General Manager, for Arapahoe Basin opened the brand new Black Mountain Express lift in style - with an official ribbon cutting ceremony complete with champagne shaking.
The first four skiers to ride the new chairlift were all from Colorado; Michael March of Ft. Collins, Jeff Nuttall of Superior, Casey Lebeaver of Boulder and Mr. Epic himself, Charlie Alexander of Silverthorne. Alexander has skied every day the Epic Pass is available for the past two seasons - officially getting dubbed Mr. Epic from Vail Resorts this year and receiving an Epic Pass for his efforts. While most of the skiers that got first chair arrived at the ski area around 7:00am, Lebeaver slept in the parking lot the night before.
"He's the winner," March said. "He beat us all here."
Skiers and riders from around the state were excited and eager to get on the High Noon run as well as the High Divide Terrain Park - the only two sections available at A-Basin on opening day. So eager, in fact, they braved 21 degree temperatures, blowing wind and dumping snow, as well as road closures. Despite all the difficulties in getting to the 'Basin, the parking lot was full at 10:30am -- showing the true dedication of Colorado skiers.
Check here fore more photos of Opening Day at Arapahoe Basin.
-- Morgan Bast