Aspen Highlands was over the top Saturday with the grand opening of new terrain off Steeplechase and Temerity. Kudos to the crew at Aspen Highlands, plus any and all who helped this last summer in opening up the latest addition to Highlands’ steep and deep.A broken lift and long lines throughout the morning couldn’t put a damper on the fantastic mood that everyone seemed to be in all day Saturday. The usually surly and impatient crowd of Highlands regulars had an extra bit of tolerance, perhaps in recognition of the achievement they were experiencing in Deep Temerity.Actually, some may be calling it Deep Temerity, but those of us who’ve lived here for any length of time know better. It’s really Deep Steeplechase. This town has been dreaming and speculating about Deep Steeplechase since the day Steeplechase opened in the mid-1970s. Back then everything about Steeplechase was extreme. The steepness. The moguls. The catwalk out. Even the lift ride up. (Imagine hanging 1,000 feet over Maroon Creek on a windy day in a chairlift with no safety bar.) Thirty or so years later, the talk has become reality, and Steeplechase has been re-extremed. That turf of dreams and speculation and rope ducking has become another choice among many fantastic choices at Aspen Highlands. It definitely doesn’t suck.This just in from the Aspen Skiing Co.: Registration for the inaugural Aspen/Snowmass Open opened today. Up-and-coming athletes will compete on the Winter X Games slopestyle and superpipe courses on Buttermilk in early February, shortly after the games finish.More than $25,000 of prize money is on the line, and the top ski finishers in slopestyle and superpipe will qualify for the 2007 U.S. Freeskiing Open.To register visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com and click on Aspen/Snowmass Open in the “Events & Activities” section. Up to 100 spots are available for each competition – first come, first served.Avalanche reportReports indicate a weakening snowpack, with numerous small loose-snow avalanches spotted. Trigger points might be likened to a minefield you just dont know where they are and the consequences of releasing a slab of snow could result in a large, deep avalanche at this time. Shady and leeward slopes with drifted, firm snow are the most suspect.Near and above treeline there are pockets of considerable in wind-loaded areas, primarily on N-E-SE aspects. On other aspects and below treeline, the danger is moderate.Avalanche danger details provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.
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