The wait for ski season now five days shorter in Aspen |

The wait for ski season now five days shorter in Aspen

Aspen Times staff report
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Ski season will start five days early when the Aspen Skiing Co. opens Snowmass on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The ski area was scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day, but abundant snowfall, cold temperatures and hard work by the operations team will allow Skico to open 160 acres of terrain, including parts of the Big Burn.

“The 2011-12 season has started as a talented overachiever with near perfect snowmaking temperatures and abundant natural snowfall,” said Rich Burkley, vice president of mountain operations.

The first day of the season could also be the first powder day of the season: A winter storm watch is in effect from Saturday morning through Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service. It predicted eight to 16 inches of snowfall for the Aspen area in its Thursday afternoon forecast.

The Village Express and Big Burn lifts will get fired up for the opening. They will access more than 3,200 vertical feet on seven trails. The Sky Cab gondola and the ski school magic carpet will also be operating.

As of Thursday, the plan was to open Sneaky’s, Mick’s Gully, Max Park, Lunchline, Upper Scooper, Hal’s and Fanny Hill. More terrain will be added depending on weather and snowfall. Lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The mountain will open with two terrain parks, one on Water Plant Flats, with several jib and urban features, and a double jump line on the Dawdler steeps. The Ullrhof and Up 4 Pizza will be open for dining. The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center also will be open. Parking is free in Snowmass until Thanksgiving Day.

Aspen Mountain will open to the public as scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 24, with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club benefit day on Nov. 23. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk won’t open until Dec. 10.

There are currently four resorts open in Colorado: Wolf Creek, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Copper Mountain. Several others are preparing to open.

Winter Park opens Saturday, Nov. 12. Vail Mountain and Eldora open Friday, Nov. 18. Steamboat, Crested Butte and Monarch are scheduled to open Nov. 23. Telluride opens Nov. 24.

In Aspen, World Cup ski racing returns on Thanksgiving weekend. The world’s fastest female skiers will take center stage on Aspen Mountain for the “Nature Valley Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Alpine World Cup,” Nov. 26-27.

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