By Jamie Leary

(CBS4) – Arapahoe Basin is celebrating 75 years this season and hundreds of people showed up Sunday for opening day.

“I’m not surprised by this line to be honest, I mean opening day at A Basin is kind of a family reunion of sorts, like these are core skiers and riders. A lot of the staff know a lot of the people who are here a lot of these people know each other,” said Katherine Fuller, communications manager for Arapahoe Basin. “This is kind of a normal opening day which we almost forgot about with the COVID season and then opening with a two-hour announcement the season before that so it’s really cool to see things kind of back to normal.”

Riders started loading the lift at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. One of the four people to catch the honor of first chair was Nate “Dogggg.” He has managed to make first chair at Arapahoe Basin for the last 27 years.

CBS4 quickly learned that it takes much more than showing up early opening day.

“What time did you get here this morning?” asked Jamie Leary, reporter for CBS4.

“Ah, we didn’t. We got here two days ago,” said Nate.

Dogg told CBS4 he camped under the chairlift, and while the ski area discourages this behavior, Dogg says he’s on his best behavior in and cordial with staff to make it work. He has, too. There have been several occasions where others have nearly beat him.

“No one’s going to beat this record,” Dogg told CBS4, “every year someone says they’re going to try but it won’t happen.”

While Arapahoe Basin wasn’t the first to open this year (Wolf Creek opened Saturday), it has opened in October every year since snowmaking began. There is a little completion to be the first, but Fuller says, especially this year, it’s more about the community than anything.

“It’s good for the soul but it’s also good for the community for sure,” she continued, “it gets people back to work it starts bringing people back into Summit County, gets people spending at the businesses again. You know that’s kind of how we felt being open during COVID was giving people an opportunity to not just come ski and ride but to give our staff an opportunity to work, and give people a reason to go to restaurants and hotels in Summit County …”

Despite the longer lines, there were few complaints, and the snow was quick to soften up.

“Last week was really great for both natural snowmaking and Mother Nature giving us a hand with over a foot of snow, so we had excellent temperatures, our reservoir is in good shape for snowmaking, and we just cranked on it. We might have some cold temperature and more snow coming in next week so it’s looking good.”

Snow guns were moved to the mid and upper parts of the mountain to get ready for those colder temperatures and work on opening more terrain.

Jamie Leary