On the Hill: Kick ‘n’ glide
No need to wait until Saturday’s early opening of Aspen Mountain to strap on a pair of skis. The Aspen-Snowmass Nordic Council has rolled its first track of the season.Nordic Council crew members were out packing the Aspen High School and Marolt loops on Wednesday. By the afternoon, Marolt, at least, was sporting a groomed track for skate skiing and set track for classic-style skiing.”We need a little bit more snow on the golf course before we can go out there,” said Austin Weiss, trails coordinator for the city of Aspen. “We like to have about 8 inches before we start taking the snowmobiles out on the golf course.”At its peak, the Aspen-Snowmass trail system offers 60 kilometers of groomed cross-country skiing from Aspen to Snowmass Village. How quickly trails can be packed down and groomed all depends on the weather. Snowfall is back in the local forecast on Saturday.”If we had another 3 to 4 inches in the next few days, we’d be able to get a lot open,” Weiss said. “We’re kind of on the cusp right now. Once we get a few more inches out there, we’re going to be in good shape.”In the meantime, Nordic enthusiasts willing to take a drive will find groomed conditions on the Grand Mesa, outside of Grand Junction.The Grand Mesa Nordic Council’s latest grooming report, posted Monday, indicates 12-16 inches of new snow and several trails groomed for classic and skate skiing, accessible from the Skyway parking lot near Powderhorn.The Aspen Nordic Center, at the city golf course, opens for business Thanksgiving Day, offering equipment for rental and sale, ski tuning and waxing, and lessons.The Snowmass Nordic Center is scheduled to open Dec. 9.All the trails in the Aspen-Snowmass system are free to use. Go to http://www.aspennordic.com for more information. For a daily grooming report, call the local nordic hot line at 429-2039.The Grand Mesa Nordic Council’s website is at home.mesastate.edu/~jerry/gmnc/The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.
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After several loud explosions near the Smuggler Mine rocked Aspen on Saturday morning, local and state authorities are digging in to the cause and impact of the blast.