To celebrate Eldora's 50th anniversary this season, Courtney Harkins plans to break out her stash of vintage ski gear.
But for opening day Friday, she stuck with a more modern, "fly-low" outfit -- mint green ski pants, a brown vest and a festive hat covered in palm trees and topped with a bright yellow pom-pom.
The 23-year-old 2011 University of Colorado-Boulder graduate and skier will save her closet full of brightly colored eclectic ski bibs for at least her second trip to the resort.
"It's pretty incredible that there is a ski resort here and that everything is so close and so easy," she said of the 50th anniversary. "And it gives me an excuse to wear as much retro gear as I can this year. I have some pretty amazing one-pieces that have been passed down through my family."
Around 25 skiers and snowboarders waited in line, watching the clock tick slowly for Eldora's opening day Friday. The Challenge lift opened around 8:55 a.m. to the general public, five minutes earlier than planned.
Temperatures hovered in the low 30s while clouds filled the sky for most of the morning. Wind speeds stayed low, right around three miles per hour, according to the official lift information board.
Hornblower, International and a small run for children and beginner skiers were open Friday.
Three men waited eagerly to see who would get the true first chair at Eldora.
"There's going to be a brawl," said Steven Strassman, 55, as he waited, laughing. "We'll duke it out when we get up there. We've been waiting to ski for six months now."
Strassman said he's been skiing Eldora since 1979, some 17 years after Eldora opened in 1962.
Matt Moore, a 24-year-old Boulder resident, was one of the first three up the lift. Though snowmakers created most of the snow on Hornblower and International, he was happy just to be back.
"A little packed," he said. "You can definitely tell it's man-made, but it's snow."
After last season's dismal snowfall and early closures at some resorts, many at Eldora talked with hope about a long, snowy season.
Eldon Shaffer drove out from his home in east Boulder County, taking a few hours off of work to experience "the best snow that man can make."
Shaffer skis somewhere at least once a month. He said November is his 253rd consecutive month of skiing, which translates to roughly 21 years and one month.
The crowd seemed small to Shaffer, who said he tries to make it out for opening weekend at Eldora each year.
"There aren't very many people here," he said. "It's very friendly. I wouldn't say particularly festive. I think we all wish the snow was a little better. It's a little browner than most opening weekends than I can remember. We haven't had much help from Mother Nature yet."
Eldora spokesman Rob Linde confirmed the small crowd, saying Friday was a little "softer opening" than usual.
"That's simply due to conditions," he said. "What we do have open is skiing really well."
That didn't stop Carl Swanson from bringing his 4-year-old son, Tobin, out for opening day. Tobin insisted he wasn't the slightest bit cold.
"I like to ski so much," Tobin said, holding on to his father's gloved hand. "Because it's so fun."
The two drove from Longmont for Tobin's third season of skiing.
"You ready, buddy?" Carl Swanson asked, as they headed up the mountain.