The road to Eldora was flanked by meadows of dry, but still golden, grasses. There wasn’t much of a winter feeling. As the road wound uphill towards the Eldora Mountain Resort, a dusting of snow was reason to think that winter would be found on the ski trails, under the snow guns.
By 9 a.m., the Eldora Mountain Resort parking lot was filling up with the SUVs, city cars and the parking crew. Skiers and snowboarders, a team of lifties and the ski patrol watched the clock inch towards 9 a.m., the moment that Cannonball would carry the first skier of the year to the top of the mountain.
Guests were met at the entrance to the lift by complimentary muffins and hot chocolate, a welcome addition to the opening day crowd. Ray Smith was among the first four to line up at the rope. Usually, a handful of people camped out to guarantee the first lift boasting rights, but this year, people were happy just to be in line and to know that the season was finally begun.
Andy Cookler, Nederland resident and longtime Eldora patron, said the trails were as good as one could expect for the first day. It is always good to hit the slopes.
Snowmakers have blasted the trails with manmade snow for the past week, taking advantage of the drop in temperature and putting down 20 inches of snow. The resort opened with three trails and three lifts. Hornblower and International, from the top of Challenge Mountain, and the beginner area behind Indian Peaks Lodge are open.
Eldora opens the season as a smoke-free environment. Smoking will not be allowed in lift lines, mazes, on lifts or within 15 feet of decks and buildings around the resort.
Early season lift ticket prices are $55 for an Adult Full Day, $26 for a Junior Full Day, ages six to 15, $38 for Senior Full Day, ages 65 to 74, and $10 for Senior Silver, aged 75 and over, and children aged five and under-full day tickets.
Trails and lifts will open as weather cooperates.