Highlands, Buttermilk to open with good snow | AspenTimes.com

Highlands, Buttermilk to open with good snow

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” The Aspen Skiing Co. is in the unenviable position of hoping for snow to have good openings at Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, while hoping the snow doesn’t fall so the World Cup can go off without a hitch.

Fortunately for Highlands Bowl fanatics, big snow is looking more and more likely, which means opening day is getting more and more attractive.

As it stands, Rich Burkley, vice president of mountain operations, said almost 70 percent of Highlands will open on Day 1, including all of the bowl except the B and Y zones. The rest of the mountain will be open except for No Name Bowl and Thunderbowl (the Thunderbowl lift will be the only one closed on opening day).

“We have this storm cycle coming through and it’s an incredibly solid base,” said Burkley. “Basically everything in the G zones has been boot packed. There will be people in to boot pack after this cycle in the Bs and Ys.”

Unfortunately, the snow cat up to the bowl will not be running because so many people are expected for opening day. The cat is expected to start up on Sunday.

Merry Go Round, Cloud 9 and ZG Grill will all be open for the hordes of pow fanatics.

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Over at Buttermilk, the opening likely will be good, also. Three intermediate jumps are ready to open along with five intermediate rails and boxes. The halfpipe will open in another week, said Burkley.

If 6 inches of snow fell on Thursday night, then all of the lifts at Buttermilk will be open. Otherwise, lifts will open as more snow falls to cover the base.

“It’s rock solid top to bottom,” Burkley said. “The natural snow is covering everything and it’s skiing very solid. Everything you want to get into is going to be ready.”

Friday’s avalanche danger in the Aspen zone is considerable on NW-N-NE-E aspects near and above treeline, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Human-triggered avalanches remain probable on steep, wind-loaded slopes. On other aspects and below treeline the danger is moderate. As new snow accumulates, constantly reassess for rising avalanche danger. For more, go to http://avalanche.state.co.us.

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