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It’s game on between the West and East as far as early-season openings go. Two days after Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in Colorado announced they would start spinning lifts this weekend and keep them turning for the remainder of the season, Killington Resort in Vermont and Sunday River in Maine today announced they’re following suit.
While both resorts will be opening tomorrow, the first turns at Killington will be reserved for skiers who hold a resort season pass, Ikon Pass, Express Card or Beast365 pass. These pass holders will have access to the K-1 Express Gondola beginning at 10 a.m. Friday. The general public will have access to the slopes starting Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. At Sunday River, the general public will have access to T2 trail, accessible via the Locke Mountain triple lift in Barker Basin, beginning tomorrow.
Sunday River and Killington are the first Eastern resorts to open for skiing and riding this winter.
An opening date of Oct. 19 is early for any North American ski resorts, but is especially impressive for eastern resorts at lower elevations, and a testament to the Eastern resorts’ ability to make and groom snow like champs. In fact, this is Sunday River’s second earliest opening date in the resort’s history—it also opened on Oct. 19 for the 2015-‘16 season.
In addition to receiving 2-3 inches of natural snow on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Sunday River fired up 124 snowguns on Locke Mountain this week. The quick trail coverage can be attributed to Sunday River’s recent snowmaking system upgrades that boost the resort’s snowmaking capacity by 15 percent.
“As always, we’re dedicated to getting our trails open as fast as possible for our passholders and loyal guests,” Sunday River Resort President and General Manager Dana Bullen said in a press statement. “This commitment is shown through the improvements we made to our system this summer, and continues as we take advantage of these favorable snowmaking temperatures before the foliage has fallen.”
Ikon Pass holders can ski both Killington and Sunday River 7 days throughout the 2018-’19 season with no blackout dates, while Ikon Base Pass holders have access to 5 days (holiday restrictions apply) at the two resorts throughout the winter.