On the Hill: Skico hits homer at Snowmass
December 31, 2008
SNOWMASS ” Among the doom and gloom on the business front there are still some “good” stories out there. For example, the Aspen Skiing Co. has hit a home run at Snowmass.
The new Sheer Bliss chairlift does the mountain proud. It draws you into terrain that often was bypassed because of the unbearably long ride on the old double chair. The new chair lets you do laps in the trees leading into Garrett Gulch and the gulch itself as well as steeps like KT Gully and Rock Island.
The upper terminal of the new lift also is higher on the mountain, providing easier access to the rest of the Big Burn, the Cirque platter pull lift and the Up 4 Pizza restaurant.
The new chairlift hasn’t drawn more skiers and riders to the Big Burn section of the vast ski area, at least not yet. Instead, it seems to be dividing people between the two high-speed quads serving that part of the mountain. On Sunday, on what should be one of the busiest days of the season, you could ski right up to the Big Burn chair without a wait until about 10:30 a.m. The Sheer Bliss chair was only slightly busier. It’s another example of how spoiled you can get skiing and riding at the four areas of Aspen/Snowmass.
The Elk Camp Gondola appears to be luring more Snowmass customers to the east side of the mountain, at least to start their day. When the Big Burn was just starting to get busy late Sunday morning, the Alpine Springs lift and the High Alpine chair were already busy. Still, waits were less than 10 minutes.
Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think the Hanging Valley Wall area and associated steeps at Snowmass are holding the snow better than ever. Maybe more locals are going to Aspen Highlands to ski the bowl, leaving the expert terrain of Snowmass less crowded.
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No complaints here. I considered it another Christmas gift, compliments of Skico.