Aspen Mountain fires up its snowmaking machines |

Aspen Mountain fires up its snowmaking machines

Aspen Times Staff Report

Anyone jonesing to hit the slopes probably felt their heart skip a beat Thursday morning.

Yep, the Aspen Skiing Co. fired up its snow guns on Aspen Mountain Wednesday night. The first telltale patches of white on the slopes signal dropping nighttime temperatures like frost on a windowpane.

“We pumped about 200,000 gallons, which was pretty good for the first time out,” said Steve Sewell, mountain manager.

The mercury dipped to 24 degrees at the top of the World Cup course and, with women’s World Cup racing just a month away, crews will be making snow whenever they can, he said.

“We’re ready to pull the trigger whenever we’ve got the opportunity,” Sewell said. “The guys are anxious and chomping at the bit, as we all are.”

Snowmaking crews need at least six hours of cold temperatures during the night before they’ll consider making snow, he said. In addition, daytime temperatures need to remain cool enough so the previous night’s efforts don’t disappear.

Snowmass, which isn’t under the gun to cover a race course, did not make snow Wednesday, said Rob Baxter, mountain manager. Crews are on call, but they’ll be working regular nighttime shifts starting next week, he said.

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