Highlands to open
Aspen Highlands will finally make its season debut Monday, the Aspen Skiing Co. announced Thursday.
Nine trails off the new Cloud Nine detachable quad chairlift will be open, but downloading will be required on the Exhibition lift. Additional terrain will open as conditions allow.
“We need at least another foot of snow at the base before we can offer skiing and riding to the bottom and we are hoping Sunday’s storm brings it,” said mountain manager Ron Chauner in a prepared statement.
The new Highlands Center at the base of the mountain will be open, providing lift tickets, rentals and guest services. Cloud Nine Caf, Merry-Go-Round and the Thunderbowl will also be open, serving lunch.
Paid parking is $5 per day and vehicles with three or more passengers always park free. A free skier shuttle also operates to Highlands. Buttermilk Buttermilk will open Saturday, with top-to-bottom skiing off the Summit Express and Savio lifts. Fifteen trails will open, predominantly on the upper portion of the mountain.
The Skico also hopes the half-pipe and terrain park can be opened soon. The Cliffhouse restaurant on top will be open for lunch, serving the popular Mongolian barbecue, soups, salads and grill items.
This Saturday, Buttermilk will host a “Family Day” with special ski school lessons and activities. Santa Claus will be at Panda Peak from 11 a.m. to noon and 1:30-2:30 p.m.
The ski patrol will open new terrain periodically at Aspen Mountain. The Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Express, Ruthie’s and Gent’s Ridge lifts are now operating.
“We’re hoping to open Spring Pitch, Strawpile and the 1A chair on Sunday or Monday,” said Aspen Mountain manager Steve Sewell. Snowmass Snowmass will open the Assay Hill lift and trail, as well as Upper Hal’s Hollow and some additional acreage on the Big Burn on Saturday. With these openings, Snowmass will offer more than 200 acres of skiing and riding terrain.
Sneaky’s and Upper Mick’s on the Big Burn are open as well as Upper Banzai Ridge, Lower Hal’s, Max Park, Upper Scooper, Lunchline, Cabin, Coney Glade and Fanny Hill.
Lift tickets are $49 a day starting Saturday. Lift tickets are interchangeable and the mountains will be operating from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Highlands, Highlander, and Buttermilk passes will be valid at Snowmass and Aspen Mountain through Sunday.
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Looking for alternative to I-70 closures, truckers are ignoring numerous warning signs to attempt the narrow, treacherous road that goes over Independence Pass east of Aspen.