Ajax to open for season | AspenTimes.com

Ajax to open for season

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Colorado is already having a great ski season. And it’s about to get better.

The Aspen Skiing Co. announced Tuesday that not only will Aspen Mountain be open this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it will re-open on Saturday, Nov. 23, and stay open for the season.

Ajax, along with Snowmass, was originally scheduled to open Nov. 28.

“We haven’t had early season conditions this good in years, and people are very anxious to get out on the slopes,” said David Perry, the Skico’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “There’s a buzz in the community.”

Friday is a benefit day for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, and no one gets up the mountain without paying $40. On Saturday and Sunday, lift tickets will be $49, and season passes will be honored.

There will be 191 acres and 25 trails open over the weekend on Ajax, with both the Gent’s Ridge and Ajax Express lifts running. Skiers will need to download on the gondola at the end of the day. There is currently a 26-inch base on top of Aspen Mountain.

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On Nov. 23, more terrain is expected to be open on Ajax, including, maybe, top-to-bottom skiing through Spar Gulch.

Last weekend about 5,100 skiers got a taste of this fall’s snow at the Snowmass ski area, which will remain closed until Nov. 28.

Farther down the Roaring Fork Valley, the Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs has announced it will open two weeks earlier than planned.

The mountain will be open this weekend, Nov. 16-17, and then will open again on Nov. 23-24. After that, the resort’s official seven-day-a-week opening is set for Nov. 27.

“We have better snow than we had in January of last year,” said Turi Nevin-Turkel, Sunlight’s marketing director. “The report is that, by far, this is the best early season snow we’ve had in a long time.”

This weekend 60 percent of Sunlight’s terrain will be open, including most of the runs on the west side of the mountain.

Sunlight has a 30-inch base at the top and 26 inches midmountain. Lift tickets at Sunlight will be $25 for adults and $20 for children 6 to 13 years old.

Elsewhere in Colorado, Copper Mountain, Loveland, Winter Park and Keystone are currently open.

Vail Mountain plans to open Saturday with 2,300 acres of terrain. The ski area has gotten almost 7 feet of snow since Nov. 1. The midmountain base depth is 37 inches.

“We have not experienced snow conditions this exceptional in 10 years,” said Bill Jensen, Vail’s chief operating officer.

Most of the front side of Vail will open this weekend along with the original Back Bowls, Sun Up and Sun Down. China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin are expected to open on Thanksgiving.

Beaver Creek is set to open Nov. 23 with 950 acres of skiing and a 28-inch base at midmountain.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent reporter Greg Masse contributed to this story.