Paradise lift set to spin Thursday
By Katherine Nettles
Snow guns have remained busy as Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) prepares to open for the season with a kick-off Donation Day on Wednesday, November 21. The official opening day follows on Thursday, November 22 and could be one of the best openings in recent memory, with the Paradise Lift set to load on Thanksgiving Day.
“This has been one of our best early snowmaking seasons ever, with cold temperatures and low humidity,” said Mark Voegeli, assistant mountain manager at CBMR. “Our snowmaking crews have taken full advantage of the weather, and we are looking forward to one of Crested Butte’s best opening days in many years.”
On its third annual Donation Day, CBMR will offer skiing and riding on terrain accessible by the Red Lady Express and Peachtree Lift. Open trails will include beginner terrain such as Lower Keystone, Houston and Augusta, among others.
Lift tickets will be $15 and can be purchased at the Adventure Center; all proceeds will go to benefit the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation (CBSF).
Season pass products will not be valid on Donation Day. CBMR will also be giving away a CBMR buff to the first 100 skiers or riders in line, and the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School will be open beginning on Donation Day.
The official beginning of the 2018/19 winter season is opening day, Thursday, November 22, when all Peak, Peak Plus and Epic Passes will be valid. CBMR spokesperson Zachary Pickett confirmed that the Paradise Express will open and trails will include Paradise Bowl, Forest Queen, Ruby Chief, trails accessible off of the Red Lady Express, Peachtree Lift and base area magic carpets.
The resort said that this would be the first season in more than 20 years that the Paradise Express will be spinning on opening day. This season marks the first time that CBMR has been able to open the Paradise Express on snowmaking alone, as well.
Terrain park features will be available in the Keystone Jib Park for Donation Day and opening day.
Pickett characterized the opening days as bringing a very local feeling to the beginning of the season.
“We see a lot of local families up there this time of year. If we see 1,000 people or so, that would be consistent with what we have seen in the past. As we continue to open more terrain and get more snow, we expect to see people from out of town showing up more,” Pickett said.
The CBMR Adventure Center and Pass Office opened for the season on November 14, with daily hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily hours will extend to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Wednesday, November 21. The resort says guests are encouraged to pick up their season passes from the office during this time.
Students can now pick up their Choice Passes at the Pass Office as well. The deadline to purchase the Choice Passes and be enrolled in the program was October 31, and Emily Mirza, the youth programming coordinator for Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention (GCSAP) says they have exactly 600 students enrolled for this year.
The deadline for purchasing season passes is Sunday, November 18. Season passes can be viewed and purchased at www.epicpass.com and Epic Pass representatives can make pass transfers by phone at (970) 754-0008.
Across the state, Wolf Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski areas opened in October and early November; Vail opened on Wednesday; Monarch, Copper Mountain and Beaver Creek will open Friday; Aspen Mountain will open on Saturday, November 17; and Telluride opens November 22.