Winter is coming: snowmaking begins at Colorado resorts

Snowmaking operations
Beaver Creek and Keystone were all blowing snow by Thursday afternoon, thanks to a promising forecast (Image credit: Westend61)

Skiers and snowboarders, it might just be time to start dusting off your ski goggles. Daytime temperatures across Colorado's high country might be pleasant enough for most people to still be spending lots of time in their hiking boots enjoying the best fall hikes in Colorado as foliage hits peak season, but overnight temperatures mean ski resorts are officially thinking snow.

This week, three top resorts turned on the snow guns in preparation for ski season according to the Vail Daily. Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone were all blowing snow by Thursday afternoon, thanks to a promising forecast. Overnight lows are projected to be in the low 20s all week at high elevations, and even dropping to 16 degrees on Sunday, which means snowmaking operations can begin.

Snow guns use a combination of compressed air and compressed water and rely on freezing or sub-freezing temperatures to operate. Though Colorado's resorts typically enjoy abundant natural snowfall that allows them to cease snowmaking by January, the operation allows them to open on time with a guaranteed base. 

This year, Vail is scheduled to open on November 10, Beaver Creek plans to open on the 22nd and Keystone will open as soon as they have enough snow. All that means you only have about four weeks before you can dust off your favorite ski pants and boot up for the 2023/24 season of stoke.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.