ASPEN - Aspen Mountain will open on Thanksgiving Day as planned, but skiers and snowboarders will be hitting the mountain "old school."
"We're a storm away from top-to-bottom skiing, so we'll have an old school - pre-1986 - opening with the Little Nell and Bell Mountain chairs accessing Deer Park, Spar and Little Nell," said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle in an email Monday.
Since snowmaking on Ajax is limited to slopes below the Nastar course, and very little snow has fallen this winter, the top of the mountain cannot be opened to skiers and boarders. All told, about 70 acres of terrain will open to the public Thursday.
The World Cup races on the Lift 1A side of Ajax are on as planned, with women competing Saturday and Sunday in giant slalom and slalom. And the Silver Queen Gondola will run for foot passengers, with The Sundeck restaurant opening for the season Thursday.
At Snowmass, terrain will be similarly slim on opening day. According to Hanle, the Elk Camp Gondola, Meadows chair, Sky Cab and Village Express to the mid-station will be running, with access to Upper Scooper, Lower Hal's, Fanny Hill and Dawdler. There will be about a half-dozen park features on skier's left of Dawdler.
"Max Park and Lunchline are a few nights of snowmaking away from the green category, and the connection to the base of the Big Burn Chair, and thus Sneaky's, is not far behind," Hanle noted.
Lift-ticket pricing had not been determined as of Monday night, but Skico did announce that foot passengers can ride the gondolas at Aspen and Snowmass for free on Thanksgiving Day.