More than 540 acres to open on Snowmass this weekend | AspenTimes.com

More than 540 acres to open on Snowmass this weekend

Abby Margulis
Special to The Aspen Times

Rob Pasanen stone grinds skis on Nov. 18 at Gene Taylor's Sporting Goods on the Snowmass Village Mall. Snowmass ski area is opening for the season on Nov. 23.

Hundreds flocked to Aspen Mountain last weekend to hit the slopes for the first time this season, and skiers and snowboarders will get to ride more than 540 acres of terrain at Snowmass starting Saturday.

Snowmass ski area will open five days ahead of the scheduled opening thanks to early-season snow and low temperatures. Skico plans to open the Big Burn, Sam's Knob and all the midmountain terrain on the western side, said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle. The Big Burn, Sam's Knob, Village Express and Elk Camp Meadows chairlifts will be running as well as the Sky Cab and Elk Camp gondolas.

The Elk Camp Meadows beginner area also will be open, and the ski school will offer instruction. The company could release more details on terrain later this week depending on the snow conditions, Hanle said. As of Tuesday, the National Weather Service was forecasting snow from then through Friday, with mostly sunny skies for Snowmass on opening day.

All season passes will be valid, but a walk-up rate is still to be determined, Hanle said.

On-mountain restaurant Ullrhof will open Saturday, according to a statement from the town of Snowmass Village. The Elk Camp Restaurant will start serving soups and sandwiches, and the coffee shop in Sam's Smokehouse also will open. Up 4 Pizza will open Thursday, and the Elk Camp Restaurant will begin offering its full menu then.

Getting around

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Snowmass Village transportation services are also on board for the early opening. They are being "ramped up" to make it easier for the expected crowds to get around town for the early opening, the statement said.

The free Village Shuttle service from Town Park Station to Snowmass ski area will start running at 6:40 a.m., departing every 10 minutes until 5:20 p.m., starting Saturday. After 5:20 p.m., the Village Shuttle will depart from the Snowmass Village Mall every 20 minutes.

The Village Shuttle also will begin servicing Routes 1 and 8 and extending hours on Route 3 from Saturday to Thursday to make getting around town easier.

For those driving into town, there will be free parking available in the numbered lots along Carriage Way. In Upper Lots 5 and 6, time-restricted parking will be enforced, and merchant permit restrictions will be enforced in Lot 7.

The Base Village parking garage will provide discounted parking from Saturday through Dec. 1. Parking will be free the first hour, and then drivers will be charged $5 per hour up to a daily maximum of $10 per day.

Abby Margulis is an editorial intern working at The Aspen Times this fall. She is a junior at DePauw University in Indiana.