Not a record, but still high |

Not a record, but still high

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The holiday season amounts to the biggest days for the Aspen Skiing Co. in terms of skier visits. Though the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s often breaks records, this was not a record-breaking year, though the number of skier visits was high.

The most skiers Skico has logged at the four mountains combined was just over 20,000 in a single day and Saturday saw just under 20,000 visits. Friday had about 18,500 and Sunday saw roughly 18,000 at the mountains.

“Had we had a sunny day, we would have cracked the record based on the occupancy in town,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said. “To get 20 grand on a day that starts that cold. … It’s solid. If weather had cooperated we would have been a little happier.”

Though Skico did not break records, the snowfall depth is now the second highest since record keeping began in the 1930s, with snowfall this December topping the 58.30 inches that hit Aspen in December 1951.

Still, it’s unlikely that this month will come close to the record 72 inches that fell in December 1983, according to city data.

The winter weather has been nice for the powder hounds and unfortunate for people who are unprepared for the bitter cold and high winds that affected the num­ber of skiers.

“We had a lot of people who said ‘I don’t want to take my lesson, it’s 10 below zero,'” Hanle said.

However, the weather hasn’t affected people getting into town nearly as much as last year.

“From what I’ve heard, people got here,” Hanle said. ” This is comparable to other holidays. It was good. It could have been better.”

Snowmass is boasting 6 inches of new snow, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Monday morning snow report. Aspen Mountain, Highlands and Buttermilk each picked up 4 inches in the past 24 hours.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s report for the Aspen zone on Monday, Dec. 31: Near and above treeline, the avalanche danger is considerable on steep, wind-loaded or cross-loaded slopes facing north, northeast, east, southeast and south. Look for the hazard to rise to high in these areas if the upper end of overnight snow totals is met or exceeded. The danger is moderate on other aspects above treeline. The avalanche danger is moderate on all aspects below treeline.

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