BRECKENRIDGE — Skiers and riders munched more than 3,000 free pancakes at the Breckenridge Ski Resort Peak 8 base area Thursday morning before queuing up for some opening day runs.
Two lifts and 108 acres of terrain, including three jumps on upper Park Lane, were open with good early-season conditions.
“I’m surprised — it’s better than I expected it to be,” skier Tom King said of the snow conditions. “It was warm this week.”
King recently moved to Breckenridge for his first winter in the mountain town after getting laid off as an engineer in New Jersey.
“A bunch of my buddies from West Virginia came out. I figured, why not?” he said.
King aims to ski 120 days this year.
Breckenridge is the last of Summit County’s four ski areas to open for the 2009-10 season. The celebration continues Friday night with a performance by Craig Robinson — AKA Darryl from the TV show “The Office” (see today’s Scene cover story) — at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center.
This year the resort’s Peak 8 skier drop-off area has returned as construction on One Ski Hill Place nears completion. The new building is to feature 88 luxury residences with a two-lane bowling alley, two pools and more when it’s scheduled to open in spring 2010.
Other changes on the mountain this year include relocation of the Trygve’s pipe on Peak 8 to Country Boy on Peak 9.
This year marks 25 years of snowboarding offered at Breckenridge Ski Resort, and the Winter Dew Tour ski and snowboard competition returns Dec. 18-20 with some of the sport’s top talent.
Daneeka Maconachie of Cairns, Australia and Suzanne Wolke of Denver enjoyed pancakes at the Bergenhof on Thursday before riding the lifts.
“We had to nourish ourselves before we did anything,” Wolke said.
Maconachie is visiting Denver and came to try out the snow at Breckenridge and Keystone Resort for a couple of days.
“I’ve skied once or twice,” she said, adding that she may find herself “snowplowing the whole way down.”
Cole Steed, who moved from Ogden, Utah to Dillon for his fourth winter in Summit County, plans to build on the 65 or so days he spent on the mountain last year.
“I should’ve had more,” he said.
He’s hopeful the Farmer’s Almanac prediction of above-average snowfall this year is correct.
“I always like to be optimistic and hope for the best,” Steed said. “You kind of have to cross your fingers.”
Snowfall is expected today with a 60-70 percent chance of precipitation continuing through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service at www.noaa.gov.
Steed anticipates the opening of Imperial Chair and the hike to the top of Peak 8, where “nine times out of 10, the wind is blowing but you feel like you’re on top of the world,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing.”