Overnight storm drops 10 inches of snow atop Aspen Mountain to help with Saturday’s opening day
Opening day got a little sweeter as an overnight snowstorm dropped 10 inches of snow at the top of Aspen Mountain and set the ski area up for top-to-bottom skiing for its opening on Saturday.
Aspen Skiing Co. announced Friday that Aspen Mountain will open with 148 acres and 3,200 vertical feet of skiing. The Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express and Bell Mountain chairlifts will operate.
Skico announced earlier this week it would open 75 acres of terrain on Aspen Mountain and 60 acres at Snowmass. Initially, there wasn’t enough snow on the upper portion of Aspen Mountain for the early opening. The snowmaking system only covers some trails on the lower two-thirds of the ski area. But with 10 inches of snowfall by dawn Friday and more snow falling, Skico was able to prepare more terrain.
Snowmass will still be offering 60 acres for its early opening. The Village Express chairlift will operate to midway, providing access on trails down to Fanny Hill. The Elk Camp Gondola will also serve Elk Camp Meadows beginners’ area.
Aspen Mountain lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Snowmass, the Village Express lift will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with the Elk Camp Gondola running from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“This recent storm delivered enough snow for our teams to get the Silver Queen Gondola up and running with top to bottom skiing and riding, and additional acreage,” said Katie Ertl, senior vice president, mountain operations. “This new snow will now make for a great opening weekend, with a total of 208 acres across Aspen Mountain and Snowmass and the forecast is predicting multiple storms next week.”
Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are scheduled to open Saturday, Dec. 7.
The forecast for Saturday calls for sunny skies and a high of 41 degrees.
Another winter storm is expected to come in Monday with 4 to 8 inches of snow predicted.
Flights in and out of Aspen airport were canceled or delayed Friday morning. Travelers should check the airport’s website, aspenairport.com, or with their carriers for updates.
There were a number of slide-offs during the morning commute that kept law enforcement and tow-truck drivers busy.
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.