Aspen, rest of Colorado ski resorts make the best of dry fall | AspenTimes.com

Aspen, rest of Colorado ski resorts make the best of dry fall

Staff and wire report

A skier hits the slopes of Wolf Creek ski area. Opening this season was a challenge even for the southwest Colorado resort, which usually reaps some of the highest snow totals in Colorado.

The Colorado ski industry is putting on a brave face and generating the best possible spin despite tough times getting terrain open to start the season.

Nine resorts were able to open at least some terrain prior to Thanksgiving. Five more planned openings today or Friday.

Aspen Skiing Co. will open limited terrain today at the Elk Camp Meadows beginners' area and east Fanny Hill at Snowmass. Aspen Mountain also was scheduled to open for skiing Thursday but that was delayed to a date uncertain.

Free rides are being offered to sightseers today on the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain and the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass. They are operating 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk remain scheduled to open Dec. 10.

Resorts elsewhere have delayed openings or have limited terrain open.

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Telluride pushed back its opening nine days to Dec. 2.

Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek delayed their openings until Friday.

Arapahoe Basin was the first Colorado resort to open this year, but it's been thin pickings. The resort reported on its website Wednesday that two lower-mountain blue runs were open along with a learning area and one terrain park.

Keystone planned to offer top-to-bottom skiing starting Friday.

Breckenridge reported Wednesday that it had 59 of its 2,908 acres of skiable terrain available on three trails.

Copper Mountain reported 67 acres open on five trails as of Wednesday.

Colorado Ski Country USA, a state trade association, issued a statement Tuesday to try and entice Front Range skiers and snowboarders to head for the hills. "Over a foot of snow blankets Colorado ski country," the trade association trumpeted.

Indeed, there were some signs the weather is turning. Purgatory received 17 inches of snow from Monday's storm.

Forecasters in Colorado have vowed the white stuff is coming. AspenWeather.net meteorologist Cory Gates wrote Wednesday that we can kiss the mild weather goodbye after Saturday.

"Snow is also coming and the days of melting and a bare ground will come to an end," Gates wrote.

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