Keystone had opened just this Thursday (check the excellent write-up of opening day over at Snowboarder Guide) and so we decided to check out opening weekend. It sounds like it was busy on Thursday and it surely was twice as busy today (Saturday). The drive up is really nice this time of the year and the weather is unbeatable (Fall skiing is basically the same as Spring skiing) so either way it was going to be a great time. The scenery is disappointing in the sense that there’s hardly much snow around yet.
We got up bright and early for first chair (8:30 AM on weekends) and were parked in first row and on Gondola #6 or so… not a bad start to the season.
But, by mid-morning (10:00 or four runs in) it seems everybody turned up at the same time. In fact, the Gondola line at River Run was backed up past the ticket counters, over the bridge, and into the village. Needless to say the time to take a break (bloody mary) quickly presented itself. So we headed over to Inxpot (a favorite bar slash café).
Luckily, Summit Express, the lift parallel to the gondola had opened around 10:15 AM and things thinned out.
Overall, the snow was clearly man-made (slushy in the sun, hard in the shade) with most of the grooming worn by lunch time. The afternoon was a slick, crowded, tired mess of people as expected so you found most folks in the terrain park. Over 20 items had opened which seemed to accommodate everyone from beginners to experts. Needless to say, there were some early-season spills.
Overall, I’m excited for new snow. This season has already proven to be a stronger start than the last and I’m excited for many more days ahead.