Aspen Highlands closing day Sunday will be tamped down

Crowds will be limited and the typical season finale will be a shell of its usual self

Staff reports
Liftie Ben Pilger helps a family on to the Thunder Bowl Lift at Highlands on Thanksgiving Day in Aspen on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Aspen Skiing Company opened a run on Buttermilk and Highlands to spread skiers out during the holiday.

With COVID-19 case numbers on the rise and Pitkin County remaining in level Orange restrictions, local officials said Wednesday they are limiting the number of guests at Aspen Highlands closing day Sunday, which is usually one of the biggest parties of the season.

In a joint announcement from Aspen Skiing Co., Pitkin County, the city of Aspen, the Highlands Merchant Association and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, officials suggest people get their final day at Highlands and bowl laps prior to Sunday’s closing.

Skico will be limiting the number of skiers and snowboarders Sunday to “approximately half the numbers on a typical closing day. Guest will be turned away once this capacity has been reached.” In addition, there will not be walk-up ticket sales or uphilling Sunday.

The gate to Highland Bowl will close at 2 p.m., and the lifts will stop at 3 p.m. There will not be any live music or DJs and there will be limited alcohol sales.

As well, there will be “a heavy presence enforcing (COVID-19) protocols on closing day,” according to the announcement.

Transportation officials are warning that buses to Highlands could fill quickly with the capacity restrictions in place and to plan for delays during the peak times in late morning and mid-afternoon.

“Mobility continues to rise across the state, and we are seeing an influx of spring break guests,” the joint release states. “We remind everyone there are still 20 days left in the ski season, and we need everyone to continue to practice the (Five Commitments of Containment). Don’t let your guard down now, we are so close and need to continue to stay vigilant.”

Highlands will host the U.S. Alpine Championships starting Monday for more than a week. The event is not open to spectators.

Buttermilk also is set to close Sunday. Aspen Mountain is scheduled to close April 18, and Snowmass Ski Area was extended a week to close April 25.


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