Aspen Highlands’ opening pushed back to Dec. 18 |

Aspen Highlands’ opening pushed back to Dec. 18

Skico: Lack of snow won’t allow planned opening on Dec. 12; more Aspen Mountain terrain opening Saturday

Aspen Highlands was originally scheduled to open for the 2020/21 season on Dec. 12. Due to a lack of snow, the opening date has been pushed back to Dec. 18. (Aspen Times File)

The opening of Aspen Highlands will be pushed back six days to Dec. 18 due to lack of snow, Aspen Skiing Co. announced Thursday.

There is little snow forecast to fall prior to the previously scheduled opening Dec. 12, so Skico decided to hold off, according to Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications. There isn’t enough snow cover to sustain repeated skiing and snowboarding.

“We’d just wreck what little base we have,” Hanle said.

Company officials are more confident of getting Highlands and Buttermilk open Dec. 18 due to forecasts promising a change in the weather in a week or so, Hanle said.

The plan had been to open Highlands on Dec. 12 and Buttermilk-Tiehack on Dec. 18. Like nearly everything else in 2020, plans had to be altered.

Buttermilk will continue opening Panda Peak for beginners and families this weekend and next week. The opening of the bunny slope for the long Thanksgiving weekend was so successful that Skico decided to keep the lift spinning on the interim weekends, Hanle said. It helps spread people out.

Skico has plans to open more terrain at Aspen Mountain on Saturday. Lift 1A will be opened to provide access to the Ruthie’s chairlift and terrain, Hanle said.

None of the terrain on the lower part of the west side of the mountain will open but Lift 1A will provide alternative access up the hill. The Ruthie’s terrain will be open and the FIS trail will provide access to the Ajax Express lift.

“The terrain will bump way up,” Hanle said.

Aspen Mountain was reporting 264 acres open out of 675 total Thursday. The Bell Mountain Chair was closed Thursday for mechanical reasons.

At Snowmass, Adam’s Avenue will open Saturday to provide access from the Elk Camp section of the mountain to Base Village, according to Hanle. Sam’s Restaurant also will open to provide alternatives for dining and spreading out.

An uphill alert emailed Thursday by Katie Ertl, Skico’s senior vice president, mountain operations, said four designated uphill routes are now marked at Snowmass from Base Village to Sam’s Knob.

“As we have all noted, we are light on snow and relying on snowmaking to build our runs,” Ertl wrote. “Please remain aware of operations and movement on the hill.”


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