Bowl awaits as Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk open Saturday; snow expected
December 11, 2009
ASPEN – Skiers and riders will be bowled over when Aspen Highlands opens for the season Saturday.
A substantial portion of Highland Bowl “awaits hikers,” said Rich Burkley, Skico vice president of operations. G0 through G8 will open as will Full Curl, Ozone, Be-one, White Kitchen and Steep and Deep, all in the heart of the bowl. Evolving conditions will dictate closures, he said.
All told, about 750 acres will open at Highlands for the opening and 100 percent of Buttermilk will open for its season debut on Saturday.
At Highlands, the Exhibition, Loge, Cloud 9 and Deep Temerity chairs will fire up Saturday.
“Most of the runs on the mid- and upper-mountain will open and all of the Olympic side with the exception of No Name Bowl,” Burkley said in a written description of opening day offerings. “Temerity will open wall to wall.”
The lower-angle trails in Steeplechase will be ready, but more snow is necessary to open the bulk of the area. The Thunderbowl and Golden Horn side of the mountain will open next week.
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Burkley said skiers and riders will find 18 to 25 inches of powder on top of snow that was cat tracked. “For the low-angle stuff, it’s as good as it gets,” he said. He credited the Highlands ski patrol for self discipline for leaving several mid-mountain runs untracked.
The Cloud 9 and Merry-Go-Round restaurants will open for the season Saturday.
At Buttermilk, virtually everything except some gladed terrain on the Tiehack side will open Saturday. The superpipe is being cut and is scheduled to open Dec. 16. Bumps will open but the Cliffhouse will only serve as a warming hut until Dec. 19.
At Snowmass, the opening of the terrain accessed by Alpine Springs has been pushed up to Friday from Saturday. The High Alpine chair and all upper runs it serves will open as scheduled on Saturday.
At Aspen Mountain, the Ruthie’s, 1A and FIS chairs will open to access limited terrain on the upper half of the west side of the mountain. Another 8 to 12 inches of snow is needed to open more terrain, Burkley said.
The National Weather Service is calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow Friday night in the Aspen area, and a 40 percent chance of snow on Saturday, with highs in the 20s and west winds of 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday night’s forecast calls for more snow, with accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, and lows of 5 to 15. Sunday will bring an 4 to 8 inches, highs of 25 to 35, and southwest winds gusting to around 40 mph, according to the weather service. Snow is also likely Sunday night.