Aspen Skiing Co. says extended skiing is unlikely this season | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Skiing Co. says extended skiing is unlikely this season

Firm up those plans for desert getaways or beach trips starting in mid-April because an extended ski season looks unlikely at Aspen and Snowmass.

"I don't think there's any plan to extend the season," Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications, said Thursday.

Skico already has scheduled a "spring break" for its full-time, year-round employees after ski season. While it's not mandatory, employees are strongly being urged to take a two-week vacation from April 23 through May 4. It's unlikely the company would change direction and find the personnel to keep the lifts spinning during any part of those two weeks, Hanle said.

Skico will probably want to cut its losses this season, as well. Skier visits were down 20 percent from the prior season at the end of December. Updated statistics are expected to be released soon.

Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands are scheduled to close April 8. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will close April 15.

The only possibility for skiing after the scheduled closures would be at Aspen Mountain on Memorial Day Weekend, according to Hanle. The Silver Queen Gondola starts summer operations that weekend. In the past, it's fired up the Ajax Express chairlift for mountaintop skiing if the snow conditions are adequate.

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It's way too early to speculate on whether that will happen this season, Hanle said.

The only members of Colorado Ski Country USA that intend to remain open beyond April are Loveland, which has a closing date of May 6, and Arapahoe Basin, scheduled to close "early June."

scondon@aspentimes.com