Deep Temerity lift creates special Highlands opening
Sometimes life can be so unfair, like when work prevents skiing. Just ask Aspen Skiing Co. managing partner Jim Crown.
It seems only fair that Crown, a key to making the Deep Temerity chairlift at Aspen Highlands a reality, should take the first official ride up the new lift when Highlands opens Saturday. It’s not going to happen. Crown said recently during a telephone interview from his Chicago office that business obligations will keep him out of Aspen until closer to the holidays.
His absence at Highlands on Saturday won’t be from lack of desire.
“My heart just beats faster every time I think about that Deep Temerity chairlift,” he said.
Crown and his family approved the spending on the chairlift even though it probably won’t provide a return on the investment strictly from a financial viewpoint. The chairlift cost $1.7 million. Permits, earthmoving and trail clearing cost another $1 million, for a total project budget of $2.7 million, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
The chairlift was expensive to build, and it serves only expert terrain. Skico officials acknowledge it’s debatable whether the chairlift will actually draw enough new customers to Highlands to offset the investment.
“It’s probably not one of the more rational decisions we’ve made,” Crown said.
But for many locals and a niche of visitors, the addition of Deep Temerity and the new terrain it serves is priceless.
The new chairlift will make its debut when Aspen Highlands opens for the season Saturday. All the recent snowfall will allow opening nearly 60 percent of the terrain, or 562 acres.
Highland Bowl isn’t expected to open immediately because of all the new snow. Portions like the Y and G zones could open as the weekend progresses, but the center of the bowl won’t be ready, Hanle said.
All the mid-mountain terrain will open, as will all of Steeplechase, Oly Bowl, No Name and Deception. The Exhibition, Cloud Nine and Loge Peak lifts open at 9 a.m. Deep Temerity will open shortly after.
The new chairlift allows the extension of the bowl and Steeplechase trails along with everything in between. Popular trails like Kessler’s, Soddbuster, Garmisch and St. Moritz will be open Saturday with a new catwalk called the Grand Reverse to get skiers and riders back to the new chair. The Temerity terrain, with trails such as Hyde Park and Mushroom, are also expected to open.
“Opening day of Aspen Highlands has always been a spirited local event, and with the addition of Deep Temerity this season, it is sure to be a day for the history books,” Skico Chief Operating Officer Mike Kaplan said.
A party at Iguana’s bar and restaurant at the base will celebrate the opening of the chairlift. Hanle said 22-ounce beer mugs with a Deep Temerity logo are being shipped in for the occasion. A special T-shirt and bumper sticker will also be for sale.
Eventually, about 180 acres of new advanced, expert and extreme terrain will open in the Deep Temerity area, according to the Skico.
Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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