Opening Day at Arapahoe Basin on Sunday (credit: CBS)

Opening Day at Arapahoe Basin on Sunday (credit: CBS)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Skiers and boarders hit the slopes early Sunday morning after Arapahoe Basin fired up the lifts for the season, and powder hounds are excited.

The season got underway four days earlier than last year.

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“This is 18 consecutive (seasons) for me,” a snowboarder who calls himself Nate Dogggg said. “There’s no such thing as getting here today for first chair. I got here Friday at 1 p.m. … this year was hard, we had a lot of people show up last night and when the sun was still up they were coming in at 6 p.m. But once again, to take that dedication, I’m here an extra day.”

This year A-Basin is the first mountain open in all of North America.

“Our objective is always to just get open as soon as we can and we’ve had some ideal snowmaking conditions this year and had a fair bit of natural snow also,” A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth said. “We were ready to roll today so we just decided to open it up.”

With Opening Day on a weekend many of the skiers and snowboarders said it was something they couldn’t miss.

“Opening Day, it’s just like a celebration of life, a celebration of Colorado,” skier Lee Mey said.

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Nobody may have been exemplifying that celebration of Colorado quite like Carson Lethan.

“We’re going to take about two to three runs, get back in the car, head back downtown right to Sports Authority Field for tailgating for the Broncos game,” Lethan said. “I was golfing yesterday, I’m snowboarding today, and the Broncos game this afternoon. It doesn’t get better.”

What’s helped with an early opening has been the wet summer. The creek running along the slopes is still above normal.

“The more water was have in the creek, the more water we have for snowmaking, and so we’re in really good shape,” Henceroth said.

That means more runs open sooner than later.

“We anticipate our sequence of snowmaking to go really quickly,” Henceroth said.

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Other ski areas set to open soon are Loveland sometime this week followed by Copper Mountain on Nov. 1, Wolf Creek on Nov. 8, Winter Park on Nov. 13, and Eldora on Nov. 22. Most ski areas in Colorado hope to be open by the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.