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The first Front Range ski area opens tomorrow as Summit County adds coronavirus restrictions

The first Front Range ski area opens tomorrow as Summit
County adds coronavirus restrictions 1

A skier negotiates a bump on a run underneath the Summit Express lift at Keystone Resort on Dec. 2, 2014. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

Keystone Resort is still planning to open Friday, which would make it the first Front Range ski area to run lifts, despite Summit County’s return to stricter coronavirus restrictions.

The county, which is home to Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Ski Area and Copper Mountain, is moving back to safer-at-home level orange, formerly called safer-at-home Level 3, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. This sets a new 10 p.m. curfew in the county, as well as restrictions on restaurant and business capacities. Additional restrictions for indoor recreation are expected to land Thursday.

RELATED: A breakdown of Colorado ski areas’ reservation policies for the upcoming season

On Thursday, Keystone Resort reassured Epic Pass holders that it still planned to open. It’s working with local county officials to approve its winter operating plans. Although if those plans aren’t approved, the ski will not run its lifts.

Typically, A-Basin and Loveland would be strong contenders in the race to open. But little snow, warm temperatures and a lack of water have hurt snowmaking attempts. Loveland said it’s looking to announce an opening date either this week or next. A-Basin has been unusually quiet about its opening date. A spokeswoman did not immediately return emails and a call about whether the ski area might try to swoop in last minute to beat Keystone, as it did last year.

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RELATED: When Colorado ski resorts plan to open this season

Keystone launched its reservation system at 10 a.m. Thursday after initially delaying it while waiting on government approval. Spokeswoman Loryn Roberson said skiers can reserve slots for Nov. 6-13. If government approval is not received, though, all reservations will be canceled.

There will only be a limited number of reservation slots available as terrain is still small, hurting social distancing opportunities. Vail Resorts announced in August that its mountains will only be available to pass holders at the start of the ski season. After Dec. 7, non-pass holders will be able to make reservations, but Epic Pass holders will still be prioritized.

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The first Front Range ski area opens tomorrow as Summit
County adds coronavirus restrictions 2

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