Aspen to open top-to-bottom skiing Saturday; Snowmass will open 350 acres | AspenTimes.com

Aspen to open top-to-bottom skiing Saturday; Snowmass will open 350 acres

Staff report

Skiers unload the Ajax Express lift Saturday.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will open for daily operations Saturday, with Aspen Mountain now offering top-to-bottom skiing. Snowmass is slated to open 350 acres of terrain with both mountains offering more than 3,200 feet of vertical, according to a statement issued by Skico Thursday.

The mountains are opening five days prior to the resort's scheduled opening date.

"Aspen Mountain unveils top-to-bottom skiing with Spar Gulch and Little Nell trails now on the roster of open runs, which brings the resort's acreage up to 218," Skico's statement said. "Advanced runs including Summit and Seibert's will be added to the list of open runs and all new terrain will continue to be served via the Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express and Gent's Ridge chairlifts. The Sundeck on-mountain restaurant as well as Ajax Tavern will be open with food and beverage options."

Snowmass will debut with 350 acres of terrain served by the Village Express, Big Burn and Elk Camp Meadows chairlifts as well as the Elk Camp and Sky Cab gondolas. Most of the lower west side of Snowmass will open including Scooper, Hal's Hollow, Dawdler and Fanny Hill. Higher up in the Big Burn zone, 200 acres of terrain will be available including Timberline, Sneaky's, Mick's Gully and Whispering Jesse. In addition, Snowmass terrain parks will open a Thanksgiving pocket park on Waterplant Flats with a medley of boxes and jib features.

Elk Camp, Ullrhof and Up 4 Pizza on-mountain restaurants will all be open this weekend with beverages, snacks and lunch options, and Sam's Smokehouse will open the coffee shop for limited service.

The Ski and Snowboard Schools as well as Four Mountain Sports will be open for business as usual and Four Mountain Sports will be offering ski and snowboard rentals at a 30 percent discount. The Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center, located at the base of Snowmass, will be offering children's group and private lessons starting this weekend.

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Both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass lift hours run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. except the Sky Cab that opens at 8 a.m. followed by the Village Express lift at 8:30 a.m.

For opening weekend, lift tickets are $99 a day for adults and $61 for children, youth and seniors. Extension days for Double Flex, Flex and Classic Passes are $29 and Mountain Collective Passholders extension rates are $49.50 for adults and $30.50 for children, teens and seniors. Sightseeing tickets are $31 adults and $20 for all others. All season passes will be valid.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk will open for the season Saturday, Dec. 12.