On the Hill: Skico fired up for the winter
Some of the slopes at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass were a little whiter Thursday morning, which was reassuring since ski season is less than three weeks away.The Aspen Skiing Co. supplemented the early-season snowstorms we’ve had by cranking up the snowmaking system. The switch got flipped at Aspen Mountain late Tuesday night and at Snowmass on Wednesday night, according to company spokesman Jeff Hanle. Plunging mercury made for ideal conditions, according to Hanle.One million gallons of water was used to make snow at Ajax and 750,000 gallons at Snowmass on Wednesday night, Hanle said. Snowmakers concentrated on the World Cup course, between the bottom of Aztec and Lift 1A as well as at Grand Junction and Tortilla Flats at Aspen Mountain. Snowmaking concentrated on upper Fanny Hill at Snowmass.Meanwhile, the Skico and Intrawest are assuring Snowmass Village residents that the ski area will look less like a construction zone come Nov. 23. In an open letter to Snowmass Village residents, Skico Chief Operating Officer Mike Kaplan and Intrawest’s Michael O’Connor, vice president of development, said they anticipate that Snowmass Ski Area will be in great shape before the scheduled opening.Fanny Hill will be cleared of construction materials by Nov. 3. The massive hole where Base Village will emerge will be fenced off by Nov. 22.”The new Assay Hill Quad chairlift has already been certified by the Tramway Board,” said the letter from Kaplan and O’Connor. “The eight-passenger Elk Camp Gondola is on schedule and will be load-tested and certified on November 15 in plenty of time for its scheduled grand opening on December 16.”The Skico plans to open the Village Express chairlift, the Big Burn chairlift, the Sky Cab by the mall and the ski-school platter lift. The Coney Glade chairlift will be available “if needed,” the letter said.Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are scheduled to open on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23.
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