Bell chair to run weekends |

Bell chair to run weekends

The Bell Mountain chairlift on Aspen Mountain will roll before spring after all.

The Aspen Skiing Co. had announced it would keep the chairlift closed until March because of lack of use. But the response from locals convinced Aspen Mountain manager Steve Sewell to come up with an alternative.

Sewell said he heard numerous comments along the lines of, “It’s a locals’ lift, why don’t you try it on weekends?”

So that’s exactly what he is going to do. Starting this weekend, the Bell chair will be open on Saturdays and Sundays for the remainder of the season.

The double chairlift will operate on weekends regardless of weather conditions. Fans of the slow lift will have to show their support so the Skico can justify operating it at times other than during spring. Sewell said he will be disappointed if the people who spoke in favor of operating the chair don’t actually ride it.

“I’m going to stand in line at the gondola and say, `Hey, guys, the Bell chair is operating,’ ” he joked.

The lift’s use has fallen drastically since the Silver Queen Gondola started operating in January 1987. However, fans of the Bell Mountain bumps work the lift into their ski routine. Without that lift, there is no lift-served access to the very top of Bell Mountain.

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