Aspen Mountain open again Saturday, Sunday for bonus days of skiing, riding
Aspen Mountain just doesn’t want to be alone.
Aspen Skiing Co. announced Monday the mountain would again open 130 acres for weekend skiing and snowboarding off the Ajax Express lift on Saturday and Sunday.
Skico Senior Vice President of Mountain Operations Katie Ertl said the forecast of highs in the 70s and overnight lows not below freezing this week is keeping them at bay on making the decision for the Food & Wine Classic, which starts June 14.
“We were hoping we could get a commitment for Food & Wine weekend, but with these temperatures we have to go week to week,” Ertl said. “We’ll check in on Saturday and Sunday and see how it looks going forward. If we can get to Food & Wine, that would probably be the last weekend.”
Ertl said there are three keys to look at when deciding the bonus days: staffing, skier excitement and conditions.
She said with the warmer weather, that changes how crews can groom. They can still run the snowcats, but they have to take a different approach because of the softer snow.
“Groomer can do their work at higher temperatures, but they have to change tactics,” Ertl said. “As it softens, they have to drive up a certain route and then groom downhill. … They are so artful and so competent at what they do. They see the product every day and know what spots (melt) first and where to move the snow.”
This will be the third weekend in a row the mountain, which closed for the season April 21, will be open for bonus days. The mountain was open for three days over Memorial Day Weekend and again this past weekend.
The Silver Queen Gondola will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for sightseeing, and the Ajax Express chairlift will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as long as conditions permit, Skico said in a news release. Everyone will be required to download on the gondola.
For those skiing and riding, lift tickets are $54 a day. Aspen-Snowmass Premier Passes as well as 6-younger passes will ski for free. School and AVSC passholders are also eligible for free access for skiing/riding but must call or a visit a ticket office to validate their pass prior to accessing the gondola.
Discounted pricing for Flex, Double Flex, Classic, Club Escape, Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders is $27 for skiing/riding.
Prices are lower for those just going up for sightseeing. With a 58-inch base reported as of Monday, nearly all of the summer activities at the mountaintop remain buried under feet of snow.
“It’s certainly been an epic year with the amount of snow, so to be able to have that much on top of Aspen Mountain is just incredible,” Ertl said. “The gondola is open on weekend as it is. Since the summer activities are not available, it’s an honor to be able to open the mountain for skiing.”
Squirm Night at the GrassRoots TV studio Wednesday evening for Aspen City Council candidates drew out some lively discussion showing differences in the candidates, if not entirely heated, in the short hour they had.