On the Hill: Ski season starts
Aspen, CO Colorado
ARAPAHOE BASIN ” Arapahoe Basin is blowing enough snow to make sure it will be the first ski area in the country to open for the season when it cranks up a chairlift Wednesday.
The Summit County ski area will start the Exhibition chair at 9 a.m. Wednesday, it announced Monday. It will be the third year in a row it opens first. It usually battles Loveland ski area, along Interstate 70 on the Continental Divide, in the annual race to open first. Loveland took honors for six consecutive years before A-Basin started its streak.
“Skiers and riders can look forward to an 18-inch base on the intermediate High Noon run and some features in the High Divide Terrain Park,” A-Basin’s announcement said. “There will be no beginner skiing at this time.”
The ski area started making snow Oct. 5 and has continued each night. Opening day adult lift tickets will be $49; youth tickets for ages 15-19 will be $44; and child tickets age 6-14 will be $25.
Meanwhile in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Aspen Skiing Co. said Saturday night’s storm added 2 inches of new snow at the bottom of Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands. That added to a small amount that had already accumulated. “We’re building a base,” quipped Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
The Skico won’t flip the switch to its snowmaking system until Nov. 1 or whenever conditions allow after that date.
The company is still in the process of figuring out who will run two out of its four ski areas this season. The mountain manager positions are vacant at Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. Hans Hohl resigned this summer as Buttermilk mountain manager. Doug Mackenzie served last year as interim manager at Highlands. He came out of retirement to fill the post after Ron Chauner was injured in an accident before the ski season began.
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Challenge Aspen’s CEO Jeff Hauser has stepped down from the nonprofit in order “to focus on personal pursuits.”