Expect limited terrain for ski opening
November 19, 2007
ASPEN Snow-starved Aspenites might want to consider sacrifices or gifts to the snow gods if they want to carve anything except turkey on Thursday.Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said very limited amounts of terrain will be ready to open on Thanksgiving Day. How limited remains to be determined.”It’s in flux here for another couple of nights,” he said.As of Monday afternoon, conditions would allow only the “Skittles” gondola at Snowmass to open, Hanle said. Only lower Fanny Hill below the mall would be available for skiers and riders.If temperatures are low enough for long enough, the Skico hopes to make enough snow to allow skiing from the midway station of the Village Express chairlift to the bottom of Fanny Hill.Current conditions might prevent opening any terrain on Aspen Mountain, Hanle said. About 1 foot of natural snow is necessary to cover terrain near the top of Lift Three, he said. The Skico is looking at options to open at least one trail, possibly 1 & 2 Leaf or Silver Bell, on Ajax.”We’re doing everything we can to get skiing on Aspen Mountain,” Hanle said.He stressed that it’s all just speculation until Skico officials assess conditions Wednesday – the day before the scheduled opening at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk aren’t scheduled to open until Dec. 8.Hanle said locals might want to consider keeping their boards holstered.”It’s not going to be the best conditions in the world, so we may want to leave it to our visiting guests,” he said.Some properties, especially those with heavy repeat business, have been calling customers with Thanksgiving reservations and warning them about the lack of snow.Some Colorado resorts have opened despite marginal conditions. Wolf Creek opened 1 percent of its terrain with a 2-inch man-made base. Winter Park opened 3 percent of its beginner terrain on a reported base of 14 inches. Crested Butte stuck to plans to open Saturday, though the resort’s Webcams showed that slopes were more brown than white.Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone and Loveland are the other resorts that have opened some terrain.