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One by one, Skico opens new trails

Aspen Times Staff Report

West Buttermilk will open today and additional trails are scheduled to be opened at the other ski areas as conditions permit, the Aspen Skiing Co. announced Wednesday.

However, losing out on the brunt of another storm could create relatively slim pickings for Christmas. Only about 14 percent of all available terrain at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass was scheduled to be open today.

Aspen Mountain offers some of the best skiing. Skiers have been pleasantly surprised that conditions are as good as they are considering the dearth of snow.

“We’re working diligently on Copper Gulch and Strawpile and hope to have both open by Christmas Day,” Aspen Mountain manager Steve Sewell said in a prepared statement.

International Road, Easy Chair, Reardon’s and Copper Trail runs opened Wednesday at Aspen Mountain. The Shadow Mountain lift, popularly known as 1A, opened this week, as did the FIS Trail and Summer Road below Ruthie’s.

Six lifts are operating, servicing nearly 300 acres or about 44 percent of the mountain’s total terrain.

At Snowmass, additional terrain was scheduled to be opened on the Big Burn by today. About 230 acres are open at Snowmass, or only about 8 percent of the total.

At Buttermilk, the opening of West Buttermilk today will add 55 acres, including Lower Teaser, Camp Bird, Westward Ho, Larkspur and Red’s Rover.

The Caf West restaurant and Buttermilk West ticket office will also open, with free limited parking. Buttermilk has top-to-bottom skiing off the Summit Express and Savio lifts.

At Aspen Highlands, there are 87 acres open or about 13 percent of the total. New runs include I-70, Mousetrap and Grand Prix. Downloading is still required on the Exhibition Lift.

“We need an additional four to five inches to offer top-to-bottom skiing. We’re getting close,” said Ron Chauner, Highlands mountain manager.

Lifts running include the new Cloud Nine detachable quad, the Loge Peak chair (open daily for two to four hours, depending on snow conditions). and Exhibition.

The new Highlands Center at the base of the mountain is open, providing lift tickets, rentals and guest services. Free daily shuttles will be offered to Highlands this year from a specially designated parking lot at Buttermilk. That shuttle operates on the hour and half hour, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Paid parking at Aspen Highlands is $5 a day, but vehicles with three or more occupants always park free.

Lift tickets will be held at $49 a day and are valid and interchangeable at all four mountains. Hours of mountain operations are from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily.


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