Ski season starts today with the first U.S. ski resort openings of the year

Oct 11, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Each year, there’s an unofficial race to see which ski resort will be the first one in the United States to start running lifts up and down the mountain.

And now we have our winner.

Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin), after teasing a “coming soon” announcement, will technically be the first North American ski resort to open as of today, October 11.

Meanwhile, with its earliest opening in two decades, Keystone Resort about 80 miles west of Denver in Colorado is set to open for the season tomorrow — Saturday, Oct. 12. For a few hours today it looked like they would be the first resort to open this year, before A-Basin’s last-second announcement.

That whole area just got a solid snowfall this week, but that’s not the only secret behind the early opening. The very family-friendly Keystone Resort has set a goal of an early start and worked toward that goal with, as they put it, “significant investments to its snowmaking infrastructure and installing a new state-of-the-art, automated snowmaking system that allows the resort to operate more efficiently and productively during the early season.”

Loveland, meanwhile, has tweeted that it will not open this weekend as there is still a good amount of snow to make for the bottom half of the mountain.

On Keystone’s opening day, there will be access to the River Run Gondola and Montezuma Express lift that can take you up to the long and winding Schoolmarm, Silver Spoon and Last Chance. Keystone shares that Skiing and riding access will be offered from the top of Dercum Mountain to the bottom of the Montezuma Express lift. Day one riders and skiers can also help themselves to hot chocolate, donuts and coffee at the River Run Gondola — with the first 100 in line getting a free pancake breakfast at Summit House.

Long ski seasons are great news for many sets of people, but especially for those with ski season passes. If you have an Epic Pass, you can start putting it to use as early as tomorrow at Keystone. Those with the Ikon Pass can start swiping it today at A-Basin. Note that Epic Pass prices increase again as of Oct. 13. Ikon Pass increase will happen on Oct. 17.

Here’s a breakdown of all of the major U.S. ski pass programs. If you want to pick up some free Epic ski days for your child, Oct. 13 is also the deadline for the Epic SchoolKids Pack. There is no residency restriction, but you do have to apply in person in Colorado. Here are other ways kids can ski for free this season.

(Photo courtesy of Keystone/Vail Resorts)
(Photo courtesy of Keystone/Vail Resorts)

Related: Best credit cards to use for ski passes and lift tickets

While we are talking about “free”, the Hyatt Place Keystone is extremely close to the base of Keystone and not far from A-Basin and rings in at just a Category 4 Hyatt, meaning that an annual Category 1 – 4 award from the  World of Hyatt Credit Card or 15,000 Hyatt points is all you need to book an award night near the first ski resorts to open this year in the U.S.

We’re crossing fingers for a great 2019 – 2020 ski season. If you haven’t mapped out your trips this year, here’s a points and miles guide to ski vacations.

Featured image via Keystone / Vail Resorts

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.