From left, Nate (who said his last name is Dogggg), 31; Jeff Meyer, 31; and Jesse Csincsak, 27, all of Breckenridge, got first chair during the earliest opening day in 40 years, at Loveland Ski Area. The three camped out overnight to get their spot in line. (THE DENVER POST | RJ SANGOSTI)

And the winner is … Loveland.

Boasting its earliest opening day in 40 years, Loveland officials opened for skiing today. Arapahoe Basin announced it would open Friday.

Loveland is the first ski area in North America to open its season, with $44 lift tickets. Loveland trail crews were able to begin snowmaking operations on Sept. 21.

“We took advantage of the cold temperatures and got an early start making snow this year,” said Eric Johnstone, snowmaking and trail maintenance manager. “Now we can move some equipment to other trails and try to open more terrain as quickly as possible.”

As usual on opening day, Loveland opened Chair 1 with 1,000 vertical feet of terrain on Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun.

Friday will mark the earliest opening in Arapahoe Basin’s 64-year history. The Exhibition chairlift will open at 9 a.m. Friday with skiing on the intermediate High Noon run and six features in the High Divide Terrain Park. There will be no beginner skiing.

Both areas say they have a manmade base of 18 inches.

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