Top-to-bottom skiing in Aspen opening day plans |

Top-to-bottom skiing in Aspen opening day plans

The Aspen Skiing Co. has prepared big plans for the opening of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass for ski season, knowing full well a blizzard could blow it all away.

Aspen Mountain will open top to bottom via Spar Gulch and Little Nell today for the benefit for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Terrain at the mountaintop served by the Ajax Express chairlift will also be open. In addition, several trails on upper Bell Mountain will be open, including Sunrise, Sunset, Back of Bell 1, Knowlton’s and Seibert’s, according to Skico.

The Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express and Gent’s Ride chairs will operate. The Sundeck and Ajax Tavern restaurants will also be open.

Lift tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children ages 17 and under. Season passes will not be honored.

A blizzard is forecast for Colorado’s central mountains, so high winds could affect the lifts and terrain open today. The storm could also increase the amount of terrain available at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass on Thursday for the official opening, said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Skico’s plan was to open 44 trails and 403 acres at Aspen Mountain, along with 610 acres at Snowmass. All season passes are good starting Thursday.

At Aspen Mountain, Copper Bowl and Copper Connector will open for additional top-to-bottom skiing. That will allow more terrain on Bell Mountain and the east side of the ski area to open, including Back of Bell 2, Keith’s Glen and the Glades.

The Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express and Gent’s Ride chairs will be open at Aspen Mountain Thursday.

At Snowmass, the Village Express, Sky Cab, Sam’s Knob, Big Burn, Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp chairlifts will be open, along with the Elk Camp beginners area and its lift.

Hanle said the Big Burn will be partially open. Skiers and riders might have to download on the gondola to return to the base from Elk Camp, depending on additional snow.

The restaurants opening at Snowmass include Sneaky’s, Ullrhof, Up 4 Pizza on Thursday through Sunday, Sam’s warming hut and a partial opening of Cafe Suzanne.

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