1st week of October and snow cannons all over the high Rockies are blasting away!
Check out some of the resort photos posted on FB:
Tip: Follow Copper, Keystone, Loveland and A-Basin on Social Media for the latest updates!
Copper, A-Basin, and Loveland are consistently amongst the earliest ski areas in the United States to open.
How early you ask?! Back in 2009 Loveland was able to open on October 6th, followed by A-Basin a few days later. Well, that is one good thing that happened at the end of an otherwise miserable year.
Copper and Loveland are so consistent, in fact racers from the USA, and all over the wold ascend to Summit County Colorado for October race training. One of the coolest [and best kept secrets] is watching the International Teams train at Copper early season…. especially prior to Winter Olympic years!
Do snow pixies live in the Rockies? What allows the creation of such mystical Spirit Snow to be created so early you ask….
It turns out 2 main things need to happen in order to make snow:
Low enough temperature and low enough relative humidity = AKA Wet Bulb below freezing. Note, however the ambient temps CAN be above freezing if the humidity is low enough! Thus, Altitude [as with Airplanes, skydiving and helicopters] is your friend. The high altitude air tends to be a bit dry (and colder), thus, snow can be made a little earlier. The equipment also makes a difference. In fact, several mountains including Winter Park upgraded snow equipment that can “blow snow” at a relatively warmer temp…. with a wet bulb temp above 32F / 0C say what!? Using nucleation agents [chemicals], or, nozzle designs that form a crystal nucleus with a separate nozzle set to grow the formed ice crystal into a flake. Fans help with “hang time”, as does natural wind direction; the resulting flakes are better formed with automatic [AI based] control valves that figure it all out! How cool is that?! But, even given all of this human science and engineering, mother nature sets the upper ambient limit to snow making at ~44F.
In short, modern tech allows our sport to have better and more consistent snow at the resorts making the big investment necessary….. global warming be dammed!