Aspen’s ski season set for an early start, gets boost with latest snow
New snow allows opening of additional terrain at Ajax, likely 160-plus acres for Wednesday opening
Additional terrain will open Wednesday on Aspen Mountain thanks to the six inches of snow that fell Monday night and into Tuesday, according to Aspen Skiing Co.
Aspen Mountain will debut Wednesday with an estimated 162 acres of terrain on 12 trails, served by 5 chairlifts
Snowmass will open 86 acres on five trails with two lifts and the Elk Meadows beginner area lift
Skico now plans to open 162 acres of terrain, 12 trails with five chairlifts. The Gent’s Ridge chair will also open Wednesday, said Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications. The Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express, Bell Mountain and Little Nell chairlifts will also spin.
Snowmass received slightly more than six inches of snow but it won’t alter the plans for opening day. It will open about 86 acres of terrain on five trails. The Village Express and Elk Camp Gondola will operate along with the Elk Camp Meadows chair and Sky Cab (See more on the Wednesday edition of the Snowmass Sun).
Skico is opening Aspen Mountain and Snowmass a day earlier than planned in ongoing efforts to spread out users. The ski areas were scheduled to open on Thanksgiving Day.
Despite the efforts to spread out use, there’s been enough demand that Skico officials decided there will be no “day-of” lift ticket sales on Thursday and Friday. In other words, people cannot walk up and buy lift tickets on those days.
Hanle said the decision was made after looking at historical pass usage on the opening days, Ikon Pass reservations and advance lift ticket sales.
No reservation system has been implemented yet for season pass use, but Skico officials have said it will likely be implemented at periods during the season. Hanle said Tuesday a reservation system will depend, in large part, on the amount of terrain that is open. The greater the amount of terrain, the less the need for reservations.
In addition to Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, Skico will open limited terrain on Aspen Highlands for Thanksgiving Day only. The Thunder Bowl lift and terrain will open for the holiday.
At Buttermilk, the Panda Peak terrain and lift will open Thursday through Saturday.
Highlands will open for the season Dec. 12. Buttermilk will open for the season Dec. 18.
All open ski runs will be closed to uphill traffic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday.
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CareFlight and 10 volunteer members of Mountain Rescue Aspen responded to an injured hiker on Mount Sopris after the hiker fell on loose rock and hurt his hip Sunday, according to a news release.