Thanksgiving Aspen Mountain opening unlikely, Snowmass to open limited beginner terrain | AspenTimes.com

Thanksgiving Aspen Mountain opening unlikely, Snowmass to open limited beginner terrain

Staff report

In a message to Aspen Skiing Co. employees Thursday, Vice President of Mountain Operations Rich Burkley said "it doesn't look like we will have any terrain on Aspen Mountain by Thursday."

Burkley noted that weather has shifted in a favorable direction, but Skico's ability to open terrain remains limited.

"Snowmaking teams will run for the next 48 hours or so, however it won't be enough to complete a run given the weather forecast for the next week," Burkley wrote about Aspen Mountain's opening. "We will continue snowmaking and open for skiing and riding as soon as possible."

Burkley wrote that the beginner area at Elk Camp Meadows on Snowmass should open. There's a possibility that Fanny Hill terrain could open but it's too early to call as of Thursday, he said.

"Snowmaking crews will focus on the lower west side of the mountain and expand terrain the minute we have it," he wrote.

Both the Silver Queen and Elk Camp gondolas will run through the holiday weekend from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Conditions on the mountain could change quickly due to periods of temperatures cold enough for snowmaking. Burkley told employees he would send out mountain updates daily beginning Monday, even if conditions haven't changed, in order to give guests the most current conditions and information about terrain openings.

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The snow forecast called for 5 to 10 inches of snow in Aspen Thursday, but much less than that materialized. Snow fell more consistently up high on the mountain throughout the day, though.

The forecast on http://www.opensnow.com, a powder forecasting website, shows another storm heading for the mountains mid-day Monday through Tuesday next week. The storm should produce more moisture than Thursday's did, according to forecaster Joel Gratz. Snow amounts could be higher, especially in the southern and central mountains, he wrote.

Another storm should be snow late on Thanksgiving or Friday, but the storm track isn't yet clear or reliable, according to Gratz.

In other potentially good news for ski resorts, two more storms look possible during the week after Thanksgiving, "with a cold and stormy pattern likely continuing for thefirst week of December."

"If all of these storms materialize, we will begin to chip away at our snowfall deficit and I am cautiously optimistic that we'll have plenty of snow on the ground by mid-December," Gratz wrote.

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