Aspen-Snowmass ski areas, the Maroon Bells gear up for summer
June 17, 2011
ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. is cranking up its ski area facilities for the summer at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, and bus service starts this weekend to the Maroon Bells.
The Silver Queen Gondola resumes daily service Friday. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last ride down is 4:30 p.m.
The Bluegrass Sundays concert series will start June 19 and continue through Labor Day. The bands play at the mountaintop from noon until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Other activities include a climbing wall and disc golf, which is limited right now because of the large amount of snow.
The Sundeck is open for on-mountain dining.
At Snowmass, the Elk Camp Gondola will also be open from Friday through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last ride down is at 4:15 p.m. In addition, the Elk Camp four-person chairlift will offer rides Friday through Sunday from June 25 through Sept. 5.
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The mountain biking trails that can open this weekend are Snowmass Way, Powerline to the Ridge of Tom Blake, and the Stark’s trail. They are accessed from the top of the gondola. The Vista trail is open for hiking.
The Elk Camp Cafe is open for on-mountain dining.
Tickets for the gondola rides are for sale at the base of each ski area.
At the Maroon Bells, daily bus service begins Saturday and goes through Labor Day, Sept. 5. The first bus leaves Aspen Highlands at 9:05 a.m., with service every 20 minutes until 2:30 p.m., then service every 30 minutes until 4:30 p.m. The last bus down leaves the Maroon Lake area at 5 p.m.
The ticket is $6 for adults ages 17 through 64; $4 for kids six to 16 and seniors age 65 and above. Toddlers and babies are free. On Wednesdays, all tickets are $3.
During bus operations, private vehicle access is limited. In addition, vehicles are charged $10 from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. A donation tube is placed at the welcome station between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., and visitors are asked to pay the $10 fee. A $25 season pass, valid on non-bus hours, is also available.
The U.S. Forest Service is changing its parking policy for backpackers and hikers to Crested Butte. They must park overnight at Aspen Highlands and take the RFTA bus between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“Due to higher use levels and limited parking, the Forest Service found it necessary to supplement the overnight parking at Highlands to better accommodate parking demand,” said a statement from the Aspen Ranger District.