Aspen Mountain, gondola opens Saturday for summer activities |

Aspen Mountain, gondola opens Saturday for summer activities

Staff report
The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen on Wednesday afternoon. The gondola will be running for the summer season starting this Saturday.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

While it is not officially summer on the calendar, the season has begun for the Aspen-Snowmass resort community.

Summer operations on the top of Aspen Mountain begin Saturday with the gondola running on weekends until mid-June. Daily operations will start June 16, in midst of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.

This weekend, the Silver Queen Gondola will run Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last ride down is at 4:30 p.m.

There will be limited offerings at the top, however, because the ground is still wet with melting snow, Jeff Hanle, spokesman for Aspen Skiing Co., said Thursday.

There will be one hole open for disc golf and a giant game of Jenga will be set up. The Sundeck will be open.

“It’s mostly sightseeing and eating and drinking,” Hanle said.

And even though it’s not high season yet, last-minute bookings are expected for the weekend, said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, a central reservations agency.

“With (Independence) Pass open … and with good weather in the forecast” people will hopefully make last-minute plans to come here, he said.

Daily on-mountain operations at Snowmass don’t begin until June 22. That’s because a lot of the area around Elk Camp, where nearly all of Skico’s activities and infrastructure is located, is closed for wildlife activity, Hanle said.

When it does open, the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp chairlift will run daily June 22 to Sept. 3 and then weekends through the fall. The Elk Camp restaurant also will be open.

Skico in the past few years has built the Lost Forest activity center, with the latest amenity, the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, opening this past winter. Passes are on sale for that as well as mountain biking and hiking trails, a high ropes challenge course, a canopy zip-line tour, a climbing wall and more.