Can’t you smell that smell (on Ajax)? |

Can’t you smell that smell (on Ajax)?

Contrary to public suspicions, a sewage smell on Ajax isn’t part of any sophisticated new marketing scheme, Aspen Skiing Co. officials insist.

The stench often hits skiers like a brick wall at a certain level on the mountain below the Sundeck mountaintop restaurant. The air is especially ripe on Silver Bell right above Pussyfoot. The unpleasant odor has been present just about every day this young season, according to people who have skied a lot.

“I think it has its better and worse days,” said Skico spokeswoman Rose Abello, who admitted her you-know-what detector caught wind of the smell both days she’s been on Aspen Mountain this season.

Abello argued against labeling the smell a “stench,” reasoning that it is never so overpowering that a skier must rapidly exit the smelly zone.

While it may be true that no customers are making a big stink about it, it’s certainly drawing comments and snickers from Ajax loyalists.

One even blamed the problem on the members of the private Aspen Mountain Club, which inhabits part of the new Sundeck.

The Skico, however, blames the odoriferous air on a vent on a sewer line that runs from town to the Sundeck. The vent is located in the trees between Silver Bell and Copper Cut-off, according to Mike Kaplan, Skico vice president of operations.

Both the line and the vent have been located there for some time so the sudden constant smell is baffling Skico officials. Essentially what is happening, Kaplan said it’s been explained to him, is the smell is drifting up through the line from Aspen.

“As you know, hot stuff goes uphill,” said Kaplan diplomatically.

In other words, Aspen’s premier ski area is acting as a vent for the town’s sewer lines.

The Skico hopes to clear the air before the tourists flock for the holidays by installing a special filter on the vent.

Skico officials said the problem is unrelated to a break in the line that occurred last year when the new Sundeck was constructed.

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