By Jamie Leary

KEYSTONE, Colo. (CBS4)– Despite a historically dry year for Colorado, Keystone Resort was the second ski area to open Friday, with plenty of satisfied skiers and boarders.  Wolf Creek opened last week.

(credit: CBS)

“The snow is great, I can’t complain you know my season was cut short,” said Mike Garcia.

“That’s an understatement, the snow was amazing!” his friend chimed in.

Pass holders were able to make reservations for Keystone on Thursday starting at 10 a.m., and it didn’t take long before the weekend was booked solid.

“I was religiously checking the website and then it just popped up that it’s going to be on at 10, and then I just logged in, waited about 20 minutes and was able to lock in my weekend,” said Garcia.

While the resort wasn’t talking details about capacity, with limited terrain, the number of skiers allowed- also limited.

“It’s the early season so as we open up more terrain, we’ll increase the amount of capacity that we can get on the mountain,” said Loryn Roberson, Communications Manager at Keystone.

Even with limited terrain and man-made snow, Garcia and his friends were anxious to ride.

“Just waking up, I couldn’t sleep last night just knowing that I’m going to be back on the mountain,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Other pass holders waking up Friday also anxious to ride, logged on hoping to book priority reservation days for the core season (Dec. 8-April 4). While some were able to, others found it more difficult.

There were so many pass holders trying to book at the same time, many were placed in a waiting room, with hundreds of thousands of other pass holders. One man tweeted he had been waiting for hours to reserve a day at another resort.

“We definitely expect there to be a high demand today and it will probably calm down and you know, there’s no rush we have an exclusive booking window that’s a month long and so that everyone can ski and ride the days that they want,” said Roberson.

Vail Resorts said it’s something it anticipated for opening day of the reservation system and not a reflection of how the season would go. They were confident there would be plenty of days available for pass holders to book early and reminded people, there was still a month for pass holders to make advanced reservations.

“We are so grateful to be open and with a reservation system so that we can safely manage how many people are on our mountain,” said Roberson.

With a new system and new rules, it’s an unusual year. Opening day for Keystone wasn’t nearly as crowed as those in the past in an effort to physically distant.

Parties who came together, rode the gondola together. Those who came alone, had it all to themselves.

The skiing isn’t the only thing to require a reservation. Dining does, too.

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“It’s called Time to Dine, so if you’re interested in going in and getting a bite to eat, you can actually use our EpicMix app and book your reservation,” said Roberson.

With COVID-19 numbers on the rise in Summit County, it’s likely the reservation system, and physical distancing rules are here to stay.

For Garcia, even if has to wait to book another day on the mountain, he says he’s just happy to have the chance to ride.

“I’m a disabled Vet, Purple Heart Vet. This is my therapy, so to be able to be back on the snow is 100% amazing,” he said.

Vail Resorts reiterated Friday, that all days across all Vail resorts, still have availability for the core season (Dec. 8- April 4). In fact, no days during that time period have been completely booked.

For more information on the reservation system, or if you are a pass holder looking to make a reservation, click here.

Jamie Leary