Aspen Skiing Co. waits for snow
November 21, 2007
ASPEN ” Aspen Skiing Co. officials held out hope Tuesday that changing weather will help them open more ski terrain Thursday, but it appeared it would take a miracle to open anything other than Fanny Hill at Snowmass.
Warm temperatures on Monday night prevented the Skico from making snow at Aspen Mountain or Snowmass. That created a humble plan for the opening of ski season.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Skico planned to allow free skiing on a 24-inch base of man-made snow on Fanny Hill. Skiing will be possible from the Top of the Village Condominiums to the bottom of the trail. The Sky Cab Gondola and ski school platter chair will operate at no charge. The Skycab will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for access, although skiing will end at 3:30 p.m. The Ski and Snowboard School will offer lessons.
No ski terrain was scheduled to open at Aspen Mountain.
Local skiers and riders held out hope that a storm blowing through Colorado would dump enough snow to salvage opening weekend, but the outlook was miserly as of Tuesday evening. The National Weather Service forecast an inch of snow for Aspen on Tuesday night and about an inch Wednesday, with colder temperatures settling in for the foreseeable future.
“Updates will be sent out daily as conditions change,” the Skico said in a prepared statement. “A detailed schedule will be available for distribution to guests on Wednesday, Nov. 21.”
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The Skico said it would refund pre-purchased tickets to reflect conditions and current prices.
The limited opening won’t require as many lift operators, ticket sellers, patrollers and other workers in skier services. Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said he didn’t know how many workers will be affected.
The Skico has 250 beds for workers in affordable housing units. Hanle was uncertain how many currently are filled. He noted that lift operators are getting credit for training hours.
If dry conditions persist, the Skico will consider offering free meals to workers that are in a bind.
Dry conditions created problems for other resorts in Colorado. Beaver Creek postponed its opening from Wednesday until Friday.
Skico officials were putting the best spin possible on the situation. The Burlingame lift at Snowmass will operate for free and provide access to the Lynn Britt Cabin, which will be open with a limited lunch menu.
The Silver Queen Gondola also will run for free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, with access to the Sundeck Restaurant. The Skico noted that several holes of disc golf will be available at the top.
Thanksjibbing events still are scheduled at the base of Aspen Mountain from 6-8 p.m. Saturday.
More details were expected once the weather made its play.