Aspen Skiing Co. sticks to ski areas’ scheduled closing dates |

Aspen Skiing Co. sticks to ski areas’ scheduled closing dates

Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – Aspen Skiing Co. officials said Monday they will stick with scheduled closings for their four ski areas later this month despite high temperatures and dry conditions, which were briefly interrupted by snow showers and lower temperatures.

None of the closings will be moved up, said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

“The plan is to stick to the plan,” he said.

Buttermilk will close Sunday. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are scheduled to close April 15. Aspen Highlands is scheduled to stay open through April 22.

Other ski areas have encountered trouble keeping terrain open. Steamboat Ski Area closed 77 trails Monday, Steamboat Today reported. About 33 percent of its terrain is open.

Vail Mountain closed its Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin on Sunday, reducing the open terrain to 1,476 acres, or 28 percent of the 5,289 acres.

Hanle said Skico has managed to keep the majority of its terrain open.

“As of this morning, we were just over 4,000 acres,” he said Monday. That’s about 75 percent of Skico’s 5,305 acres of skiable terrain.

Skico is dropping its single-day window lift-ticket price from $108 to $99 starting Tuesday in recognition of spring conditions, Hanle said.

Skiers and snowboarders must negotiate patches of grass in places and obstacles such as stumps and rocks. Coverage is thin in places because it never snowed enough to create a deep base.

On the other hand, sunny days have been enticing. One Aspen office worker within walking distance of the Silver Queen Gondola said he has skied more this season than the past few years because the weather has been so good. He sneaks out for runs during his lunch break.

Skico’s website said Monday that 87 percent of Aspen Mountain’s 675 acres were open. Snowmass had 69 of 91 trails open and 71 percent of the 3,132 acres.

Aspen Highlands had about one-half of its trails open Monday and 58 percent of its 1,028 acres. Buttermilk had 81 percent of its terrain open, the website said, but skiing or riding down to the base of Tiehack looked impossible Monday.

Hanle said it isn’t unusual for the ski areas to be growing stubble this time of the spring. Roaring Fork Valley residents have short memories because the late-season snow has been so good the past three seasons, he said.

Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs closed for the season Sunday. Ski Cooper and Powderhorn are also closed. Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is open only for weekends.

Telluride and Crested Butte are among the resorts closing Sunday, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, a state trade association.

Loveland isn’t scheduled to close until May 6, while Arapahoe Basin and Wolf Creek haven’t determined yet how late they will remain open.

Buttermilk will mark its closing weekend with “a celebration of bacon” Saturday, a rail jam and concert featuring DJ Naka G at 2 p.m. Sunday and a concert by DJ ZTrip at 4 p.m. Sunday.

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