News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

First tracks of the year, as reported and photographed by Silverton Mountain Ski Area. (Contributed photo)

Logging begins around EagleLogging trucks are again rumbling through town after a nearly 15-year hiatus. The Forest Service has reopened – or plans to reopen – numerous drainages south of Eagle Ranch to logging. Those new timber harvests will bring logging trucks down Brush Creek Road and through town.There are currently two active sales south of Eagle, with another in the works, said Cary Green, the White River National Forest’s timber management assistant for the Eagle area.The 60-acre Beecher Gulch salvage timber sale, on Hardscrabble Mountain, sold in 2005, and about 500,000 board feet of timber is currently being harvested, Green said. A typical 2,000-square foot, single-family home requires about 27,000 board feet of framing lumber, paneling and other wood products. The Beecher sale could generate enough lumber to construct about 18 homes.This summer, the Forest Service also opened 515 acres of land above Crooked Creek Pass near Sylvan Lake. The sale, which was given to the highest bidder, is generating 5.7 million board feet of timber, translating to about 212 single-family homes. The Crooked Creek sale is “green timber” sale, Green said, meaning most of the cut trees are still alive.Most of the logging being done on Forest Service land near Eagle involves the harvesting of dead timber – specifically trees that have succumbed to the mountain pine beetle or spruce bark beetle. (Eagle Valley Enterprise)Silverton Mountain sees first tracksSilverton Mountain Ski Area saw the first skiers of the year after receiving two major storms. The lucky skiers and snowboarders were waiting and ready to ride when they woke up to what looked like February storm conditions. After two days of heavy snow, Silverton Mountain’s slopes were chock full of new snow 28 inches to 36 inches deep at 11,600 feet (lower mountain elevation) with substantially more at higher elevations. Silverton Mountain is America’s highest ski area, with a peak elevation of 13,487 feet. Silverton Mountain has gotten the “first tracks” of the winter for six years in a row and every season since opening for business in 2001. With the amazing snow conditions, the skiers and snowboarders were skiing steep chutes and open powder fields. The scheduled opening date for Silverton Mountain was planned for Nov. 23, but it may open as early as possible. New this year at Silverton: a new 40-year lease that allows additional unguided skiing. This will be the first time Silverton has offered unguided skiing at the start of the winter season. (Formerly, Silverton was restricted to offering skiing to guided groups, until April 2006 when unguided skiing was first allowed by the BLM.) Also new is 164 acres of ski terrain; Silverton just added 164 acres of ultra steep expert terrain. Areas of this new terrain are nearly vertical, loaded with cliffs, and for the best experts only.Silverton Mountain will offer a combination of unguided and guided, lift-served skiing for 2006/2007. (Summit Daily News)

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