By noon Sunday the Aspen Skiing Co. had not opened the Pinball run, where an avalanche buried a ski patroller Saturday, and had closed the Mine Dumps area for slide concerns, a Skico spokesman said.In addition, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said, a “Powder Posse” tour of the steep and deep terrain at Aspen Highlands, scheduled for Saturday, was postponed because of the heavy snows from the weekend storm.The local mountains were reporting more than 2 feet of fresh snow over the weekend by Sunday morning, with several more inches of power expected by this morning.”We love this snow,” Hanle said, ” but it takes a little work to get it ready for the skiing public.”Aspen Mountain Manager Steve Sewell said Sunday afternoon that there was a good chance some of the Mine Dumps runs would open this morning.Sewell reported that the patroller buried in the avalanche on Saturday was “doing great” as of Sunday and had been released from the hospital. Skico officials have declined to reveal the patroller’s name because of federal laws governing privacy in health care.As far as the skiing goes, Sewell said, “They’re looking at opening Short Snort and the Bear Paw glades” after conducting avalanche control work in the area.”I don’t know if they’re going to throw the switch tonight, or just wait until tomorrow,” he said at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, noting that part of the concern was whether or not certain patches of the runs were well enough covered by the snow.Pinball, he said, had slid all the way to the ground and might not reopen for some time, although Aspen Mountain Operations general manager Rich Burkley reported that snow falling on Sunday was providing good coverage.Another area that had opened as of the end of last week, Walsh’s, also was undergoing avalanche control work on Saturday.Hanle predicted that the weekend storm, with some snow expected in the coming week, would make for a good opening weekend for Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, both scheduled to open for skiers Dec. 10.
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Colorado’s Western Slope is considered a climate hot spot where temperatures are increasing faster than the global average. This warming has contributed to more than 20 years of dryness, which scientists are calling a megadrought.