Frigid temperatures allow early start to snowmaking on Aspen Mountain
Frigid temperatures are allowing Aspen Skiing Co. to get a little bit of a jump on snowmaking on Aspen Mountain.
Skico plans to run five guns in the area between Grand Junction and the top of Little Nell over the next few days, according to Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications. The company will make snow where it can supply water through gravity, he said.
Snowmaking on Aspen Mountain typically begins at midnight Nov. 1, as Halloween comes to a close. Skico has an agreement with Holy Cross Energy that makes it more cost effective to start using the energy necessary to pump water uphill starting in November, according to Hanle. More extensive snowmaking will begin this year Nov. 1 on Aspen Mountain.
Skico won’t have an issue with temperatures being cold enough for snowmaking for the foreseeable future. Aspenweather.net forecast the low in the Aspen area at -6 degrees Wednesday.
“Remember, it has never been below zero in October in the valleys,” the forecasting firm wrote in its forecast Monday. “If this happens it’s pretty remarkable.”
Aspen Mountain picked up about 5 inches of snow on mid-mountain Sunday night and 4 inches at the summit. More snow is in the forecast.
Hanle said Aspen Valley Ski Club plans to start making snow on training slopes at Aspen Highlands this week ,as well.
In addition, bootpacking is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Highland Bowl, he said.
Aspenweather.net forecasted a slow start to the ski season at its winter preview party Oct. 3. Meteorologist Cory Gates has since changed his outlook.
“We are in a very low solar year. 2019 will end up setting the all-time Space Age record for lack of sunspots,” Gates wrote Friday. “Based on statistics, low solar years have generally boring Octobers around here 60 percent of the time. This October is defying statistics and we will have well below-normal temps with well above-normal snow by month’s end.”