Aspen Mountain, Snowmass excite locals with early Opening Day announcement
A few weeks of cold, stormy weather has allowed Aspen Mountain and Snowmass to move up opening day, sparking excitement in local skiers and snowboarders itching to get on the mountain.
Though originally slated for Thanksgiving Day, opening day will now take place five days earlier on Nov. 19, Aspen Skiing Co. announced Friday.
“We’ve got all our staff on board, and we’re ready to go,” said Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications. “It’s an excellent opportunity for our teams to get out there and get things going before the visitors begin to arrive.”
Hanle said it is not uncommon for Aspen Snowmass to open early. With cold weather on the forecast from now until opening day, snowmaking will be key to improving conditions on the slopes, and Skico plans to keep going with it at full speed.
“We’ve always been of the philosophy that, if we good snow and good skiing and we can get a good product out there, we open early, and we close late,” he said.
Sundeck at Aspen Mountain and Elk Camp at Snowmass will be open for dining. Additionally, both will feature Music on the Mountains on opening day with live music from noon to 3 p.m..
Pass sales continue to be strong so far this year, and Hanle said he strongly suggests picking up passes early at ticket offices open at the Riverside Building in Basalt, Aspen Mountain, and Snowmass Base Village Gondola to avoid opening-day crowds. The easiest way to pick up a pass is by downloading the Aspen Snowmass App and scanning your QR codes at one of the Pickup Boxes located at the base of Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands.
“We are off to a great start this season, and the teams are working hard to get ready for an exciting early opening,” said Katie Ertl, senior vice president of mountain operations at Aspen Snowmass.
Once temperatures start to drop, and snow begins to fall, local sports shops prepare for people to put away the mountain bikes and bring out the skis.
Just steps away from the Silver Queen Gondola, Hamilton Sports in downtown Aspen has already received in influx of phone calls since the announcement Friday morning.
“Our increase has really been a lot of tunes and mounts. As of today, we’ve been on the phone with a lot of property managers asking to drop skis off to be tuned, and skis to be mounted,” said Jeff King, an employee at Hamilton Sports.
Equipment rentals and purchases will be available at Four Mountain Sports at the base of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass and ASPENX in Aspen’s Gondola Plaza. Additionally, ski and snowboard lessons are available for booking. Beginner and private lessons will be offered at Snowmass. Aspen Mountain will offer private lessons only.
Uphilling will be permitted outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aspen Mountain starting Saturday, Nov. 12, through the rest of the season. Uphill traffic is permitted on designated routes with a valid uphill pass and visible strap displaying a 2022-23 sticker, which can be picked up at any ticket office.
In order to safely continue early season preparation efforts, Skico said Highland Bowl and Temerity are closed to uphill traffic beginning Nov. 11 and remains in effect for all hours of the day. The community will be notified when the terrain re-opens.
More details about opening terrain, lifts, and lift-ticket pricing will be shared next week, Skico officials said.
“It’s going to be fun. Our crews are going to be working the snow, moving it around, and grooming it. It’s going to be a fun opening,” Hanle said.
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A group of local snowboarders and skateboarders hit the big screen on Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House showcasing their street riding capabilities.