Skico wants to expand snowmaking on Aspen Mountain
Aspen Skiing Co. wants to take uncertainty out of the equation for opening Aspen Mountain at Thanksgiving in future seasons.
Skico’s updated master plan for Aspen Mountain proposes expansion of snowmaking onto 35 acres of terrain on the upper mountain. That might not sound like a lot, but it would provide top-to-bottom snowmaking capabilities. Snowmaking infrastructure currently stops at the Deer Park trail, just above the bottom terminal of the Ajax Express chairlift.
Skico officials have said in the past they want to add snowmaking to the 1 & 2 Leaf and Silver Bell trails.
Expanded snowmaking would provide a good backup in those seasons where Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate with natural snow. Warm, dry conditions this fall haven’t brought much natural snow or allowed for snowmaking, but it’s rare that warm temperatures persist far into December.
Aspen Mountain was unable to open as scheduled last Thanksgiving, and the company has expressed concerns about climate change.
The updated master plan has been submitted to the U.S. Forest Service for review and also will be submitted to Pitkin County.
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An unwelcome but familiar weather pattern in the Aspen-area mountains has created conditions that are once again ripe for avalanches. The early, ample snow in October was followed by dry periods. That resulted in a poor foundation for the snowpack. Steep slopes on north to east aspects pose the greatest threat.