SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — For a couple of hours, it looked as if Keystone Resort would be the first ski resort in North America to open for the 2019-2020 season. That changed Friday afternoon when Arapahoe Basin announced it would open a run a day earlier than its rival down the street. 

Keystone said in a release late Friday morning that it would be making its earliest opening in more than 20 years with the Oct. 12 kickoff. Around 1:45 p.m. the same day, Arapahoe Basin announced it would be operating the Black Mountain Express lift from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Only the High Noon intermediate run was open.

Skiers and snowboarders at Keystone's opening day Saturday will have access to the River Run Gondola and the Montezuma Express lift, and will be able to enjoy terrain on Schoolmarm, Silver Spoon, and Last Chance, a release said. 

The resort said it made significant investments to its snowmaking infrastructure over the summer, installing a new state-of-the-art, automated snowmaking system that allows the resort to operate more efficiently and productively during the early season. 

The new equipment, combined with ideal early season temperatures, made it possible for Keystone to open earlier than usual, according to the release.

RELATED: A-Basin begins snowmaking for 2019-20 season

Arapahoe Basin was only closed for 99 days, a release said.

RELATED: Loveland Ski Area begins 2019-20 snowmaking

Loveland Ski Area, which is also a perennial contender to be the first to open, has not announced when it will begin operations for the season.

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