Aspen Skiing Co. will continue grooming for uphillers at all four ski areas |

Aspen Skiing Co. will continue grooming for uphillers at all four ski areas

Staff report
People watch work being done on a Silver Queen Gondola lift tower before skinning up Aspen Mountain on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Uphillers can count on an ongoing assist from Aspen Skiing Co. this spring.

Skico will continue to groom slopes at all four ski areas even though the scheduled end of ski season was Sunday. The season, of course, was cut short when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered the state’s ski areas closed starting March 15 as part of the effort to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Skico kept grooming a few trails at each ski area after the closure to accommodate uphillers. Loads of skiers and snowboarders are putting climbing skins on their boards and earning their turns. Conditions can deteriorate quickly on ungroomed slopes because of the freeze-and-thaw cycle, so the grooming extended the season.

Plowing has started on Summer Road on Aspen Mountain and that eventually will impact skinning and skiing on the west side, according to an uphill report by Katie Ertl, Skico senior vice president of mountain operations. The entire road will eventually be opened to provide access for construction projects on the Sundeck and an expanded snowmaking system at the mountaintop.

“We will keep uphilling accessible (on Aspen Mountain) as long as it is safely possible,” Ertl’s report said.

At Buttermilk and Tiehack, Skico will continue grooming until the lower slopes melt out to the point where maintenance cannot continue. They will clear the roads where needed for water runoff.

At Snowmass, grooming will be focused on the east side of the mountain.

“Roads have been cleared and, as we get permission, we will be moving equipment and workers up to start on the demolition and installation of the Burn Chair, and starting work on the Lodgepole/Lunkerville snowmaking line,” Ertl wrote.

Skico is replacing the Big Burn chairlift with a high-speed, six-passenger lift.

At Aspen Highlands, limited grooming will continue.

“Despite some limited grooming, please continue to treat the mountains like you would the backcountry,” Ertl wrote in her report.